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The Standards in Public Office Commission (the Commission) today published its annual report for 2018. The report provides a summary of the Commission’s activities during 2018 under legislation relating to ethics in public office, electoral financing and State funding. It includes information regarding operations and compliance with the ethics legislation, complaints and investigations, political donations, state financing of political parties and the registration of third parties and corporate donors.

Under the Ethics Acts, the Commission processed 29 complaints in 2018, completed one preliminary inquiry, and held four investigation hearings, with three reports published during the year. These were in addition to 80 investigations and 6 reports into non-compliance with the Act’s provisions regarding tax compliance.

Under the Electoral Act, the Commission supervised election finance for the presidential election held in October 2018. A report on the presidential election will be published in 2019. The Commission also published annual statutory reports on the Seanad bye-election held in April, reports on donations to political parties, TDs, Senators and MEPs, political party accounts and accounting units.

In its report for 2018, the Commission once again has renewed its calls for electoral reform. While the Commission notes some welcome movement in this regard. It is hoped that such structural change would be accompanied by a full legislative review of the Electoral Act, which is now over 20 years old and requires modernisation.

As in previous years, the Standards Commission has included in its annual report a number of recommendations for legislative change to the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended) and to the Ethics in Public Office Acts. These changes, if implemented will serve to clarify and strengthen the provisions of the legislation administered by the Commission.

For more information, and to read the Commission’s annual report visit the website www.sipo.ie.

For further information please contact:

Press Officer
Standards in Public Office Commission
18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
(01) 6395666

Email:             info@sipo.ie

Website:         www.sipo.ie

Twitter:           @SIPOCIreland

Background

The Standards Commission was created in 2001, and is the independent body charged with oversight of the Ethics in Public Office Acts (1995 and 2001), the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices)(Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

The members of the Standards Commission are:

  • Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe, Chairperson;
  • Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General;
  • Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman;
  • Peter Finnegan, Clerk of Dáil Éireann;
  • Martin Groves, Clerk of Seanad Éireann; and
  • Jim O'Keeffe, former TD.

The Commission publishes two annual reports each year; one on its activities administering ethics, electoral and State financing legislation, and the other on its activities administering the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. The separate annual report on the Regulation of Lobbying in 2018 was published on 27 June and may be viewed on www.lobbying.ie.