Ireland has done little or nothing to stop business figures bribing officials, a damning international report has found.
Despite signing up to a global pledge 12 years ago to stamp out the corruption scourge, there hasn’t been a single prosecution.
The analysis by Transparency International reveals Ireland languishes among the bottom of an international league of countries for enforcing the anti-bribery convention.
John McDevitt, chief executive of the ethics watchdog in Ireland, said there is no sign of the accord being implemented this side of a general election.
“Precious few resources are invested in tackling corruption or white collar crime in Ireland and it appears that helping fighting international bribery is not a government priority either,” he said.
“There have been very few attempts to raise awareness among Irish companies of corruption risks when doing business abroad.
“It’s particularly disappointing to see that promised changes to Irish corruption legislation have yet to be introduced.
“With a general election pending, we’re unlikely to see it any time soon.”
In 2003, the government pledged to tackle bribery by Irish nationals and companies overseas to win contracts, licences and dodge taxes, as part of the OECD anti-bribery convention.
Out of 41 countries signed up to the accord, the latest study shows just four are actively investigating and prosecuting companies: the US; the UK; Germany; and Switzerland.
Another six are found to be moderately enforcing the law while nine countries are deemed to be acting in a limited manner.
Ireland is lumped in among 20 bottom-ranking countries – alongside the likes of Russia, Mexico and Columbia – for not having brought any criminal charges against major cross-border corruption over the past four years.
“Our government pledged to tackle bribery by Irish nationals and companies overseas when it ratified the OECD anti-bribery convention in 2003,” said Mr McDevitt.
“That was 12 years ago.
“Since then there has not been a single prosecution and there are no signs that the law will be enforced.”