DUBLIN - A report issued today condemns Ireland as one of the most
corrupt and unequal countries in Europe, and says its respect for human rights falls far
short of international norms.
"Ireland is now regarded as one of the more corrupt European states (and) is
believed to have lost substantial foreign investment because of its bad international
reputation," said the report published by the British-based Joseph Rowntree
A string of state-led probes into allegations of corruption in high places had resulted
in only minimal punishment of offenders and had failed to put mechanisms in place to
prevent future corruption, it said.
The survey's author, Brian Harvey, said the problem was "systemic" and called
for the establishment of an independent body to monitor corruption and cronyism in public
He described his report as "a wake-up call". "It's a reminder that
Ireland has indeed made phenomenal economic progress in the past five to ten years, but
there's still a huge backlog of social issues, issues around poverty, human rights, civil
rights, accountability, corruption and so on that have yet to be effectively
addressed," he told state radio.
"Many of these problems -- for example in the area of corruption -- go to the very
root of the way our political system is organised," he said.
The report said that while Ireland had become one of the richest states in Europe on
the back of a seven-year boom, it had also become one of the most unequal, with standards
of human rights falling "far below international norms".
It highlighted the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers -- who began flocking to
the country in the late 1990s -- the lack of safeguards for people in detention, the high
imprisonment rate, and a lack of police accountability.
It said Ireland had some of the highest rates of poverty -- particularly child poverty
-- in the European Union.
The government came under further fire for what the report said was a policy of cutting
taxes and redistributing in favour of higher earners, while at the same time reducing
"As a result, Ireland is now one of the most unequal societies in Europe," it