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Ahern welcomes OECD Report on Irish Implementation of Foreign Bribery Convention

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., today welcomed the publication of the latest Report by the OECD on Ireland’s implementation of the Convention on combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Minister Ahern said "This encouraging report reflects many of the positive developments which have taken place in Ireland over the last two years in relation to the OECD Convention on bribery. I would like to thank the Senior Officials Compliance Committee which includes officials of many Government Departments and agencies for approaching this peer review in such a constructive manner. We have demonstrated a willingness to accept constructive criticism and a willingness to improve our approach".

The Report recognises the progress made by Ireland in a number of areas. In particular, the Evaluation Team has recognised that Ireland has taken important legislative steps in a relatively short time to address earlier concerns of the OECD Working Group. The Report makes a small number of recommendations to Ireland to further strengthen its laws and to make its companies more accountable for foreign bribery. Minister Ahern notified the OECD that he was favourably disposed to considering implementing some of its recommendations by way of amendment to the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2008 which is currently progressing through the Oireachtas.

The Minister continued "It is in Ireland’s national interest that we are proactive in this area and that we are seen internationally to treat this offence with the seriousness it deserves".

The OECD Evaluation Team also noted the significant efforts being made to raise public awareness of the foreign bribery offence which included the establishment in 2008 of a new information website (www.anticorruption.ie) and have asked Ireland to continue with its awareness raising measures.

In March 2007, the OECD had concluded that Ireland had not fully met its monitoring obligations under the Convention. The Irish Government moved quickly to establish a Senior Officials Compliance Committee to oversee implementation and to invite the OECD to revisit this issue at the first possible opportunity. This latest evaluation took place in June 2008.

The Compliance committee, led by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, includes representatives of the Departments of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Enterprise, Trade & Employment, and offices such as An Garda Síochána, the Revenue Commissioners, the Office of the Director Of Public Prosecutions, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, and the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority.

The new Report is available on the OECD Website (www.oecd.org)and on the Irish Government anticorruption website (www.anticorruption.ie ).