Why is Ireland so soft on corruption?

WE have a disheartening culture of enacting legislation but then ignoring it. 

We put all sorts of rules in place but very often don’t bother to follow that good intention with even basic policing. Very often, it is as if passing the legislation is all that is required — in constitutional terms we talk a good fight but in one instance after another, we fall short.

The Council of Europe has pointed to another instance — except in this case we didn’t even enact legislation recommended by the council three years ago to address charges of corruption among politicians, judges, or prosecutors.

The council’s anti-corruption agency, Group of States against Corruption (Greco), voiced its disappointment that we have acted on only three of 11 recommendations made after a 2014 assessment. Greco warns that we have “overall very low level of compliance”. Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan described the report as “obviously disappointing” and said he was establishing a committee to ensure we make important progress over the next nine months.” Indeed.

We have a poor record on tackling white collar crime. It is as if we imagine these crimes as victimless. On the contrary. They eat away at the very fabric of society and any idea of common purpose. It is tragic that Greco has had to point out our failings but it is lucky that it does not have to assess how well we police the laws we do enact.

That would be a real shock to its system.


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