Dail Eireann “system is too complex and contains rules that are not mutually compatible…”

The Council of Europe is a Strasbourg based international organisation concerned with the development of legal and judicial structures in member countries. It is not part of the EU, and its recommendations are advisory rather than mandatory.

There’s a report out today from one of their programmes flagging up some concerns about corruption in Ireland the details of which are well worth considering. Interesting, it praises the increasing transparency of the parliamentary process.

That’s not to say that some inside the machine appear to be keen on unevolving some of the gains of recent years…

Suzanne Lynch in today’s Irish Times notes

…it sharply criticises the current system that governs the conduct of parliamentarians, noting that it comprises rules that are drawn from a variety of sources including the Constitution, legislation and various codes of conduct.

The system is “too complex” and contains rules that “are not mutually compatible,” the report finds, noting that “diverging definitions of conflicts of interest” exist within the system.

The report recommends that the existing ethics framework be replaced with a “uniform and consolidated values-based” framework, outlining the ethical conduct of members of parliament and their staff.

I suspect it’s too complicated rather than too complex.

In the Executive summary the report notes that “From rather low perceived corruption levels, Ireland’s ranking
according to Transparency International’s perception index fell significantly in 2012.”

This, it suggests might arise from the effects of the Mahon Tribunal. It certainly followed a supercharged awakening of the Irish electorate:

…the 2011 general election was not just the most volatile in Irish electoral history; it was the third most volatile of all the general elections in western European democracies since 1945.

It’s helpful to remember that not everything about modern Ireland is broken. Particularly helpful when it comes to the decision to spend hugely limited resource to fix what is…

Corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty