IRELAND has improved its ranking in a global index of perceived official corruption.
Transparency International said Ireland moved from joint 25th place with Austria to 21st place this year.
But it was bad news for Spain as the Eurozone's fourth largest economy slumped ten places to a rank of 40 in the Corruptions Perception Index for 2013.
Denmark and New Zealand tied for first place out of 177 countries - meaning they were perceived to have the lowest levels of state sector graft. Finland and Sweden were joint third and Norway was ranked fifth.
The only country to tumble further was war-ravaged Syria.
Germany came in 12th, one notch better than 2012, while Japan slipped one place to 18. The United States and China were unchanged from 2012 levels at 19th and 80th place respectively.
The 2013 index ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The index assigns scores of between one and 100, 1 being highly corrupt and 100 clean.