Sunday 25 September 2016

New Public Sector Standards Bill won't be law before election

Published 09/12/2015 | 02:30

Social Democrats deputies Roisin Shortall, Catherine Murphy and Stephen Donnelly meet the media ahead of their Private Members Business calling for the introduction of an Independent Anti-Corruption agency at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Social Democrats deputies Roisin Shortall, Catherine Murphy and Stephen Donnelly meet the media ahead of their Private Members Business calling for the introduction of an Independent Anti-Corruption agency at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke

New laws which will see the establishment of a public sector standards commissioner are to be discussed by the Cabinet next week - but won't be brought into force before the Government leaves office.

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said progress is being made on legislation that will result in "a significant increase" in the level of information about business and property dealings that politicians and government officials will be required to disclose.

He told the Dáil that it is "utterly unacceptable for any public representative to use his or her position for financial and personal gain".

"There can be no place in public life for the kind of behaviour that was witnessed on the RTÉ programme," he said.

Mr Kenny said the new Public Sector Standards Bill will be brought to Cabinet next week with a view to publishing it before Christmas.

It will allow for the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) to be replaced by an independent commissioner with extra powers to instigate investigations.

However, a Government spokesman said that it would be "ambitious" to expect the Bill will make it into law before the Dáil is dissolved.

The Government will tonight oppose a motion from the Social Democrats to set a new anti-corruption agency that would have the power to prosecute as well as investigate.

Roisin Shortall said: "Even in the wake of last night's scandalous revelations we did not see immediate resignations from public life of those involved and that is unacceptable."

The Minister for State with responsibility for Planning, Paudie Coffey, said he expects a series of investigations to follow into the "shocking" issues raised in the 'RTÉ Investigates' programme.

He told the Irish Independent the actions of a very small number of councillors have "undermined the body politic and the good work of councillors all over the country".

Irish Independent

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