It is no coincidence that countries suffering most from the European debt crisis also have major problems with corruption. While international indicators suggest that corruption is less pervasive in Ireland than, say, Greece or Spain, its ravaging impact on public finances is just as tangible.
Corruption has played a starring role in our home-grown crisis. Not necessarily corruption in the traditional sense of bribery, but what is known as “legal” corruption – practices which, while unethical, are not punishable by law. Our banking meltdown was in no small part caused by legal corruption in the form of the “capture” of regulators and policy makers by a banking and property elite.
It is clear to indignant and increasingly impoverished citizens in both Ireland and the rest of Europe that the debt crisis is underpinned by a much more fundamental crisis of values and governance. It is also apparent that there will be no way out of this mess until we tackle the underlying corruption risks and governance gaps that led to obscene benefits for the few at the expense of the many.
But where to begin? Read more on Transparency International Ireland’s blog