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Ethics Reform (IE0011)



Action Plan: Ireland, First Action Plan, 2014-16

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive


Lead Institution: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Support Institution(s): All government departments

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, Conflicts of Interest, Legislation & Regulation, Legislative

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ireland End-of-Term Report 2014-2016, Ireland 2014-2015 IRM Progress Report (Final)

Starred: Yes Starred

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



The government will bring forward legislation to modernise, consolidate and simplify the statutory framework for ethics in public office. It will implement the recommendations of the Final Report of the Mahon Tribunal agreed by Government and will draw on international best practice, including recommendations from international accountability bodies such as the OECD, GRECO and the UN.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

(✪) 3.1: Ethics Reform

Commitment Text:

Action 3.1 -  Ethics Reform

The government will bring forward legislation to modernise, consolidate and simplify the statutory framework for ethics in public office. It will implement the recommendations of the Final Report of the Mahon Tribunal agreed by Government and will draw on international best practice, including recommendations from international accountability bodies such as the OECD, GRECO and the UN.

Responsible institution: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER)

Supporting institution(s): All government departments

Start date: Not specified                                                                       End date: July 2016



Editorial note: Commitment 3.1 is clearly relevant to OGP values as written, has transformative potential impact, and is substantially or completely implemented and therefore qualifies as a starred commitment. 

Commitment Aim

Dealing with conflicts of interest among public officials in Ireland is particularly salient, given the corruption that led to financial and economic crisis in the years before the action plan was in drafted.[Note 42: See R. Chari and P. Bernhagen, Financial and Economic Crisis: Explaining the Sunset Over the Celtic Tiger, Irish Political Studies, December 2011.] The problem was manifest in actual and potential conflicts of interest that plagued Ireland throughout the 1990s and 2000s, as highlighted by the Mahon Tribunal that investigated payments to politicians on political decisions, calling for a more comprehensive ethical legal framework.[Note 43:  See (last accessed September 9, 2015)] In this context, the aim of Action 3.1 was to develope specific reform proposals for a new ethics regime to effectively address actual and potential corruption risks, thereby increasing public trust.


Midterm: Substantial

Before OGP participation, there was piecemeal legislation in Ireland on the regulation of conflicts of interest and political donations, as discussed more fully in the midterm report. With Action 3.1, the government sought to adopt one consolidated piece of legislation that brought together the previously separate strands of legislation, while also building on the recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal. At the midterm, substantial progress included the resultant General Scheme of the Public Sector Standards Bill that outlined the key areas to be covered by the legislation, developed throughout the first year of action plan and then later released by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) in June 2015, building on international best practice.[Note 44:  See, link ‘Draft General Scheme’ (last accessed September 9, 2015)] The reform particularly sought to do the following: expand the scope of public disclosures that officials have to make, outline principles of integrity and codes of conduct for public officials, and enforce independent regulation of disclosures. After this was finalized in June 2015, the process for public consultation was also opened thereafter, where an additional policy document was produced to explain the main elements of the initiative.[Note 45: For both documents, see (link ‘Draft General Scheme’ and ‘Policy Document’)]

End of term: Substantial

In the second year of the action plan, with the goal to encourage public debate and consultation on the theme, the state received public comments by 11 September 2015. As highlighted by the government in its self-assessment report, these comments were later posted on the web. Subsequently, the Public Sector Standards Bill was published on 23 December 2015, completing its second stage reading by 20 January 2016. Given the delays in forming government after the latest General Elections in early 2016, it is expected that the Bill will enter Committee stage in parliament in late 2016, with a view to finalize adoption of the law in 2017.

Did it open government?

Public accountability: Did not change

Although there has been progress towards the creation of the law, it had not been approved at the time of writing and therefore no change was observed.

Carried forward?

The legislative approval of the Public Sector Standards Bill should be ensured. The government should be commended for having as one of its three objectives in Commitment 14 of the National Action Plan 2016-18 the commitment to move the Bill through parliament to enactment in 2017. 


  1. Promote Transparent Climate Policy Development

    IE0031, 2016, Environment and Climate

  2. Support Public Participation Networks

    IE0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  3. Improve Access to Justice: Reducing Costs

    IE0033, 2016, Access to Justice

  4. Improve Access to Justice: Framework to Assist Vulnerable Persons

    IE0034, 2016, Access to Justice

  5. Improve Access to Justice: Oversight of Legal Practitioners

    IE0035, 2016, Access to Justice

  6. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: General

    IE0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: Youth

    IE0037, 2016, Marginalized Communities

  8. Enhance Customer Engagement

    IE0038, 2016, Access to Information

  9. Improve Access to Government Services Through Technology

    IE0039, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Participatory Budgeting

    IE0040, 2016, Fiscal Openness

  11. Improve Transparency of Government Service Providers

    IE0041, 2016, Access to Information

  12. Enhance Fiscal Transparency

    IE0042, 2016, Fiscal Openness

  13. Introduce Modern Document Management Procedures

    IE0043, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Develop an Open Data Strategy 2017-2020

    IE0044, 2016, Access to Information

  15. Invest in Data Infrastructure That Will Result in Better Open Data

    IE0045, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Starred commitment Develop a Code of Practice for the Governance of Charities

    IE0046, 2016,

  17. Starred commitment Public Sector Standards Bill

    IE0047, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  18. Establish a Register of Beneficial Ownership

    IE0048, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  19. Establishment of Best Practice Standards for Open Data

    IE0001, 2014, Access to Information

  20. Establishment of Ireland’S Open Data Platform

    IE0002, 2014, Access to Information

  21. Undertake an Audit of Key Datasets for Publication

    IE0003, 2014, Access to Information

  22. Establish a Roadmap for the Open Data and an Evaluation Framework to Provide Assessment of the Ongoing Open Data

    IE0004, 2014, Access to Information

  23. Establishment of an Open Data Ireland Governance Board (ODIGB) and Steering and Implementation Group (SIG) for Open Data Ireland

    IE0005, 2014, Access to Information

  24. Signing up to the G8 Open Data Charter

    IE0006, 2014, Access to Information

  25. Implementing Open Data

    IE0007, 2014, Access to Information

  26. Improve Computer Literacy Through Implementation of Proposed New Digital Strategy for Schools

    IE0008, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Review National and International Practice to Develop Revised Principles / Code for Public Engagement/Consultation with Citizens, Civil Society and Others by Public Bodies.

    IE0009, 2014, Public Participation

  28. Starred commitment Hold Referenda Arising from the Recommendations of the Constitutional Convention

    IE0010, 2014, Gender

  29. Starred commitment Ethics Reform

    IE0011, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  30. Strengthening Freedom of Information - Implement the Code of Practice for Freedom of Information (FOI).

    IE0012, 2014, Access to Information

  31. Reform of FOI

    IE0013, 2014, Access to Information

  32. Starred commitment Regulation of Lobbying

    IE0014, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  33. Starred commitment Encourage, Protect and Raise Awareness of Whistleblower Duties and Protections

    IE0015, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  34. Measures to Increase Citizen Participation in Decision Making on Policy and Legislative Proposals. Systemic Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of Draft Bills

    IE0016, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  35. Develop and Deliver Access to Environmental Information (AIE) Training Module for Public Officials

    IE0017, 2014, Access to Information

  36. Increase Citizen Participation at Local Level. Pilot Approach to Implementation of Public Participation Networks

    IE0018, 2014, Open Regulations

  37. Provide Legal Base for Public Participation Framework in Local Government

    IE0019, 2014, Capacity Building

  38. Undertake a Feasibility Study on Possible Means of Enabling Further Citizen Engagement in Local Authority Budgetary Processes

    IE0020, 2014, Fiscal Openness

  39. Support Children and Young People as Citizens. Develop, Finalise and Publish the First Government Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-Making.

    IE0021, 2014, Capacity Building

  40. Maximise Participation and Understanding of Young People in Civic Life

    IE0022, 2014, Capacity Building

  41. Development of an ICT Strategy

    IE0023, 2014,

  42. Data Sharing and Governance Bill

    IE0024, 2014, E-Government

  43. Public Services Card

    IE0025, 2014, E-Government

  44. Single Customer View

    IE0026, 2014, E-Government

  45. Local Government Portal

    IE0027, 2014, E-Government

  46. New Local Enterprise Offices

    IE0028, 2014, Subnational

  47. Review and Enhancement of Complaints Procedures and Using Feedback to Improve Services Across the Public Service; a Review of Citizen Complaints Procedures Will Be Undertaken.

    IE0029, 2014, Public Participation

  48. Enhance Customer Engagement

    IE0030, 2014, Public Participation

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