Tuesday 17 January 2017

TDs who fail to disclose their interests face 12-month ban

Published 19/06/2015 | 02:30

The Government is to appoint a Public Sector Standards Commissioner
The Government is to appoint a Public Sector Standards Commissioner

Tough sanctions will be introduced for politicians and other public officials who fail to disclose conflicts of interest.

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The Government is to appoint a Public Sector Standards Commissioner who will have the powers to prosecute and issue fines to officials who fail to make proper declarations.

The establishment of the commissioner post and a deputy commissioner position will replace the current ethics watchdog SIPO. The move is modelled on other EU countries.

The law will also be strengthened to prohibit the use of so-called "insider information" and elected officials will be also be forced to withdraw from meetings where a conflict of interest may arise.

The measures are contained in the Public Sector Standards Bill which is being spearheaded by Minister Brendan Howlin.

Politicians found to be in breach of the new law face being suspended for a period of 12 months - compared to the current sanction which is just 30 days.

Public servants and other State officials will also be obliged to make declarations of financial and property interests, including the interests of relatives, personal gifts received and assets exceeding €50,000.

Irish Independent

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