Government ‘opposes transparency’

The Government has been accused of ignoring citizens and serving the interests of big business as it objects to EU rules forcing energy companies to be more transparent about their finances.

Enterprise minister Richard Bruton will tell Brussels today it would mean too much red tape.

Transparency International accused the department of serving the big oil and gas companies and ignoring the interests of citizens both at home and in vulnerable countries.

Under the proposed new EU legislation companies would have to give a country-by-country breakdown on payments made for each project to any governments.

“[The rules] would allow civil society in resource-rich countries to hold their governments to account for any income from their natural resources,” said Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services.

It is aimed at preventing corruption, especially in African countries, where people fail to benefit from the exploitation of their minerals.

John Devitt of Transparency International said that, while Irish Aid supports anti-corruption measures, the Department of Enterprise appears to believe only in profits and growth at any cost, leaving citizens open to exploitation and Irish companies at risk from being prosecuted abroad.

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