Corruption in Ireland

Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 19th place out of 176 countries. [1] During the years before the Celtic Tiger (1995-2007), political corruption was at its worst during the Celtic Tiger years. [2] In 2003 Ireland signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption and ratified on November 11, 2011. [3]



The Acts of Union (1800) , which saw the Kingdom of Ireland become part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , was marked by bribery on a scale not seen before in Ireland . [4] [5] The Members of the Parliament of Ireland were encouraged by the United States of America. [6]

Local politics in 19th century Ireland came to be dominated by Irish nationalist or local unionist councils. Both are known for their corruption, which surpassed that in Britain. [7] [8]


The Irish Free State was established as an independent state in 1922. In the 1920s, politicians were even expected to reimburse the cost of meals, and some slept in their offices due to gunfire outside. [9]

One major case of corruption in Ireland happened in County Wicklow ; The Minister for Industry and Commerce at the time, Seán Lemass , granted a mining license to the politicians Michael Comyn and Bob Briscoe . These licenses cover an area of ​​2,982 acres in Wicklow. They both leased the land to a British mining company in exchange for £ 12,000 and royalties on any gold found. An inquiry was launched to Patrick McGilligan of Cumann na nGaedhealaccusing Lemass of favouring members of the Fianna Fáilpolitical party. The inquiry cleared Lemass of any wrongdoing due to the fact that he did not benefit financially. [9]


Another tribunal was set up in 1943 after allegations that it was made available when the Great Southern Railway and the Dublin United Transport Company were merged and nationalized to form Córas Iompair Éireann , allowing shareholders to make massive profits. It was in the court Revealed Several People That Were tipped off of this plane before it public Went, in what is now Known as insider trading . The organizations and people who were aware of the upcoming merger included the Bank of Ireland , the Representative Body of the Church of Ireland and the Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid . [10]The court found that they were made financial gain from this activity, yet no action was taken against any of the lawbreakers. [11] This also shows how much power the Catholic Church had in Ireland in those days, as their organizations were some of the few ones chosen to be told.
The next major political scandal happened in 1946 when Dr. Francis Ward, prominent politician from Monaghan and holder of a pig production license from Seán Lemass’s department, had the following allegations put forward by a constituent rival, Dr. Patrick McCarvill;

  • Dr. Patrick McCarvill sacking his son
  • embezzling £ 12,000 from his company’s account,
  • he was still being paid as a local doctor
  • that Ward had used public money in Fianna Fáil hall on his own land.

When it was investigated, it was found guilty of tax evasion . When this was made public, Ward resigned and became the first politician in the state to resign over personal mistakes. [9]
The last major corruption case in the 1940s occurred in 1947 when a court was called to the Locke’s Distillery in Kilbeggan , Co. Meath . This issue is of interest to Whiskey , and with its extensive stocks, several foreign syndicates were interested. A politician from Laois , Oliver J. FlanaganTaoiseach at the time, Valencian emanation , Seán Lemass and Justice Minister Gerald Boland of political favouritism and abuse of power in relation to the sale. The court sat for 18 days, most of it deciphering the mountains of Flanagan allegations made. When the allegations were dropped, it became an inquiry into the credibility of Flanagan where it was concluded that Flanagan had deliberately lied in his evidence to the inquiry. [12]


Before the 1960s it was relatively easy to get permission, but that changed in the year 1963 when the highly restrictive Planning Act was passed. This is an exceptional position in the hands of newly established officials. Since this act has been blamed as the main factor of the upswing of Irish political corruption in the years after. [11] Reviews This was in Proved The Following FEW years When Charlie Haughey , the Minister for Finance and Liam Lawlor , a TD from the Lucan area, both, received Planning permission for huge housing estates we land in qui They owned. [13]
The Kenny Report of the Year of the Landlord, The Making of a Landmark, Putting a Capital of Tax on the Profit and Loss of the Land. goal Fianna Fáil , the government at the time, refused to accept’any of these, or the 9 other, That Were recommendations made in the report, as It Was Their best contre interests. [14]
Another court corruption was brought to court in 1975, this one involving Labor TD from Co. Meath , James Tully. Mr. Tully, who was the minister for local government at the time, was the subject of much suspicion regarding several planning decisions made in his name. These decisions were given the name „Tully permissions“ and went completely against the rules of proper planning. The year before, Tully was also accused of “ Tullymandering „, a take off of gerrymandering , which involves the rearranging of electoral boundaries. Bobby Farrelly, President of Bobby Farrelly, said that this Court was brought into contact with a certain building contractor, and when the trial was over, he was cleared of any wrongdoing. [15]


Mrs. Avril Doyle
„This report is about much more than an investigation into the beef industry,
it is about how Fianna Fáil exercises power in Government,
and how in Government it blatantly disregards the primacy of this House ….
In the words of Dick Walsh,Fianna Fáil does not know the difference between running a democracy and owning one. “

Dáil Éireann [16]

In 1991, the Court of Inquiry into the Beef Industry was estab- lished to investigate tax evasion, malpractice and regulatory weaknesses in Ireland’s beef industry. Part of the court also involved in the ‚unhealthy‘ relationship between Taoiseach’s Charlie Haughey and leading beef magnate, Larry Goodman. The government has been accused, by Labor TD Pat Rabbitte , of providing export insurancein Iraqand in effect, giving him a favorable treatment. When the results of the tribunal were published it uncovered many serious malpractices in the industry. The report also reads the taoiseach of any wrongdoing and stated; „There is no evidence that the Minister for Industry and Industry has had the good offices of the Good Government . “ [16]
The McCracken Tribunal of 1997 investigated by Ben Dunne to form Taoiseach, Charles Haughey and cabinet minister Michael Lowry. This court found that Haughey had given untrue evidence under which he was knowingly assisted by Dunne in evading tax. When this was made public, the court tried to initiate criminal proceedings against them, but failed when it was judged that Haughey would not get a fair trial by Tánaiste Mary Harney . [17]
The Moriarty Court of 1997 was a follow up from the McCracken Court which was an inquiry into the financial affairs of Charles Haughey and Michael Lowry. The court lasted 14 years and was finally concluded in March 2011, after Charles Haughey had died. In the findings it was reported that;

  • Mr. Haughey stole a „sizeable proportion“ from the Brian Lenihan medical fund and took steps to conceal his actions.[18]
  • Charles Haughey accepted cash in return for favours throughout his political career.[19]
  • Confirmation of facts regarding payments by Dunne to Haughey and Lowry.

After these were reported, the tribunal stated the sums paid to the former Taoiseach were worth €45m in today’s money. In return for these secret payments, the tribunal declared Mr Haughey did a number of favours for wealthy businessmen.[19]
The last major tribunal before the new millennium was the Mahon Tribunal. This inquiry was to investigate allegations of corrupt payments to politicians regarding political decisions. The tribunal ran from November 1997 to March 2012 and was the longest running and most expensive public inquiry ever held in the Republic of Ireland.[20] It mostly investigated planning permissions and land rezoning issues in the 1990s in the Dublin County Council area. Despite its steep costs, the tribunal has also yielded some benefits, with about €50 million collected by the Revenue Commissioners and the Criminal Assets Bureau in light of information it has garnered. As a result of the tribunal George Redmond, who devised a system that if a new planning application was made without his assistance, the service charges and levies would be fixed at least 100% more than with his help, and Ray Burke, who opened and maintained offshore bank accounts in the Isle of Man for the purpose of receiving and concealing corrupt payments, have served prison sentences for tax evasion and Liam Lawlor has served three prison sentences for non-co-operation with the inquiry.[20]


In June 2012, the first ever corruption and bribery law reforms were brought for approval to the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter. Some of the proposed laws include; Prison terms of up to 10 years and unlimited fines on any member of government, or civil servant, who commits an act of corruption.[21]

Bertie Ahern[edit]

Mr. Bertie Ahern
„What I got personally in my life,
to be frank with you is none of your business.If I got something from somebody as a present or something like that I can use it.


Ahern was criticised by the Moriarty Tribunal for signing blank cheques for the then Taoiseach Charles Haughey, without asking what those cheques were for. In September 2006 The Irish Times printed claims allegedly leaked from The Mahon Tribunal that Ahern had received money from a millionaire businessman while Minister for Finance in 1993, his response to these allegations is quoted to the right.
On 3 October 2006 Ahern made a 15-minute statement in Dáil Éireann defending his actions in taking loans totalling IR£39,000 (€50,000) from friends in Ireland and £8,000 (€11,800) as a gift from businessmen in Manchester in 1993 and 1994.[23]
When further questions were raised about IR£50,000 (€63,300) he had lodged to his bank account in 1994, Mr. Ahern claimed this was money he had saved over a substantial period of time when he had had no active bank account. During this period he was Minister for Labour and subsequently Minister for Finance. He was asked by Pat Rabbitte whether, in the absence of a bank account, he had kept the money in a ’sock in the hot-press‘ and by Joe Higgins if he had kept the money ‚in a shoe-box‘. Ahern replied that he had kept the money ‚in his own possession‘.[24] In May 2007, it emerged that Ahern’s then partner, Celia Larkin, received £30,000 from the businessman Micheál Wall to contribute towards the refurbishment of the house that Ahern was to buy later. When he appeared at the Mahon Tribunal in 2007, the Tribunal chairman Judge Alan Mahon said there were „significant gaps in the money trail provided by Mr Ahern which „would have made it impossible for the tribunal to follow the trail“[25]

Business Corruption[edit]

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report , surveyed business executives do not consider corruption to be a problem for doing business in Ireland. [26] According to the Eurobarometer 2012, Irish respondents‘ perception of bribery in the business culture exceeds others in the EU, with 86% considering corruption to be part of the Irish business culture, compared to the EU average of 67%. [27]Companies should note that the new Criminal Justice (Corruption) Bill 2012 is awaiting enactment in Parliament, which will not consolidate anti-corruption legislation and introduce new provisions that will create criminal liability for companies will require companies to „take all responsible steps“ and „exercise all due diligence“ to avoid legal liability for corrupt behavior of employees, directors, subsidiaries and agents anywhere in the world – in line with the „adequate procedure“ requirement of the UK Bribery Act 2010. [28]

Financial corruption

Miler Magrath

Miler Magrath was a Franciscan Priest , and Anglican Archbishop of Cashel in the 16th century. He was portrayed as a Protestant and Catholic historian, and as a result of his ambiguous and corrupt activities during the Reformation,where „dissolved churches and lands became battlegrounds for profit and cultural hegemony „. On the Protestant side, he was blamed for financial corruptions and on the catholic side as a collaborator in the destruction of the church (and appropriation of church lands) by the new ruling class. He made a fortune by holding several dioceses and up to 70 parishes, barely looking after each of them. [29]However ironically for protestant colonists such as Edmund Spenser „the destruction of monk and lord – especially when portrayed as partial self-destruction – provided an attractive scenario for the sake of the newcomer who could express their feelings and their happiness“ and other New English did in most cases. [30]

William Robinson

William Robinson was an architect and Surveyor General of Ireland who designed many notable buildings in Ireland in the 1600s, some of which include the Royal Hospital Kilmainham , St. Mary’s Church, Dublin and developmental works on Dublin Castle . Robinson was knighted and admitted to the Privy Council of Ireland , but during his time in Ireland he was so much akin to a fortune that he was in a state of corruption. for being one of the first official cases of corruption in the colonial administration of Ireland. [31]

Denis O’Brien

In 1995, Denis O’Brien was head of one of six corporations looking for the lucrative second Irish mobile phone operator’s license. When he was chosen to be licensed, he was controversial as he was suspected of bribing Fine Gael TD government and Minister for Communications Michael Lowry . The license procurement, which ultimately makes O’Brien one of the richest men in Ireland, was proven to be corrupt in an investigation by the Moriarty Tribunal , where it was proven that; [32]

  • O’Brien gives a great deal of money to make friends in the party.
  • Denis O’Brien, or persons close to him, is in demand for large amounts of money to Michael Lowry.
  • Michael Lowry, in search of a number of occasions and influence in Esat’s favor.

Seán FitzPatrick

Seán FitzPatrick was head of the Anglo Irish Bank from 1986 until 2008, when he had to make a € 155 million decision from the bank, hiding them from auditors for 8 years. He later defaulted on these loans to the Global Recessionand has since been unable to repay his debts, although he retired from his position with a pension of € 4 million a year. [33]

Michael Fingleton

Michael Fingleton was chief executive of the Irish Nationwide Building Society until 2009, when he resigned from the effects of the Irish banking crisis . Fingleton was responsible for arranging loans for politicians and other public figures, with some loans totalling over € 10 million. Among those who received loans from Fingleton include; Charlie McCreevy , Don Lydon , Francis O’Brien and Celia Larkin . [34]

Willie McAteer

Willie McAteer was chief executive and chief risk officer of Anglo Irish Bank until January 2009 when he resigned. McAteer was arrested in 2012 in relation to a failed attempt to boost Anglo’s share price after a stock market collapse. He was responsible for the financial performance of a group of companies in the United States. At the time of the alleged incident, McAteer had the second largest number of shares in the bank, totalling 3.5 million. [35] [36]

Tax evaders (politicians)

Charlie Haughey

Of the $ 45million Charlie Haughey was said to have been corrupted, he made a deal with Revenue where he only paid $ 6.5million in back taxes and penalties in relation to what he called ‚undeclared political donations‘. Haughey was not convicted for evading tax with his obstructing the McCracken court. [37]

Mick Wallace

Mick Wallace , a freelance politician from Wexford, was revealed in 2012 to have knownly made false statements about the payment of VAT . In total his undeclared VAT liabilities totaled € 2,133,708, but he stated that he believes that none of the money will ever be paid in full to revenue because he is insolvent and he is not personally liable. Mr. Wallace’s company went into receivership in November 2011 when his company was said to be over $ 19million to ACC Bank . [37]

George Redmond

George Redmond , the former assistant city and county manager in Dublin, was revealed in 1999 to £ 500,000 to the Revenue Commission for unpaid taxes. In total it was claimed that it was over 20 different bank accounts. When interest and penalties are added, it was said to be in excess of £ 2million. [38]

Denis Foley

In 2000 Denis Foley , a Fianna Fáil politician from Kerry North, was accused of an offshore account to evade tax. He was forced to pay € 580,000 to the Revenue Commission to cover his undeclared income. [39]

Ray Burke

In 2005 Ray Burke became one of the most senior politicians to be jailed on criminal charges, after he was convicted of tax offenses. It was revealed in the Mahon Court that Mr. Burke had received over £ 200,000. He received a 6-month award but only served 4½. [39]

Michael Collins

Michael Collins , a politician from Limerick, hit the headlines in 2003 when it was revealed that he had set up a bogus offshore account to evade paying tax. He settled the bill with the Revenue Commissioners, paying over € 130,000 in taxes, interest and penalties. He is a collector of the Collector General, and he claims to be compliant. [39]

See also

  • Catholic sex abuse cases
  • Irish political scandals


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