Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (318)

Michael McGrath

Question:

318. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the anti-corruption framework here; the major policy and legislative changes to tackle corruption in recent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27606/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The responsibility to develop and implement anti-corruption policies does not rest with any one single body in Ireland. The competence to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute corruption is spread across An Garda Síochána and a number of other bodies with a mandate to tackle corruption.

These include, inter alia, the Central Bank of Ireland, the Standards in Public Office Commission, local authorities, the Ombudsman, Parliamentary Committees on Members' Interests, the Anti-Corruption Unit in the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Public Accounts Committee, other Oireachtas committees, regulators, Government Departments, the Director of Public Prosecutions and tribunals of enquiry and commissions of investigation.

In addition, Ireland has an extensive range of legislative provisions to prevent and combat corruption. These include the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995, the Standards in Public Office Act 2001, Freedom of Information Act 2014 and the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.

In relation to recent legislative developments, the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018 was commenced in full on the 30 July 2018. The Act repealed and replaced the seven previous Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 2010. The Act is not merely a consolidation of the old provisions. It strengthens and clarifies the law in relation to corruption.

Ireland is also a party to a number of anti-corruption international instruments. These are the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Public Officials in International Business Transactions and the Council of Europe's Group of States against Corruption (GRECO). As such, Ireland is subject to regular peer evaluations associated with the implementation of these international agreements with recommendations for improvement made following each review.

Mr James Hamilton, the anti-corruption expert and former Director of Public Prosecutions, is chairing an interdepartmental and multi-agency Review of Ireland’s Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption structures. The Review Group, which will report later this year, is examining the effectiveness of the State’s procedural, legislative and resourcing frameworks for the investigation, prosecution and prevention of fraud and corruption offences.