Galway City Council has been ranked the highest out of the 31 local authorities in Ireland for integrity.
Transparency International (TI) Ireland has launched the first National Integrity Index which ranks Ireland’s 31 local authorities based on three criteria: transparency, accountability and ethics.
The index and report are the result of eight months of research during 2017 and early 2018 into the systems and practices for promoting integrity in Ireland’s 31 city and/or county councils.
Galway City Council tops the index with receiving 21 points out of 30, two more than the councils that came in second place.
Fingal County Council and South Dublin County Council came joint-second in the rankings, with 19 points.
Meanwhile, Dublin City Council and Monaghan County Council came joint-fourth in the rankings, with 18 points.
The report found that local authorities with higher proportions of women tended to have better systems and practices to promote integrity and prevent corruption.
John Devitt, Chief Executive of TI Ireland said that even the highest ranking local authorities need to do more.
“It is important to note that even the highest ranking local authorities still have room for improvement, and all local authorities need to take steps to ensure effective systems and practices to prevent corruption.
“They need to publish much more information on their websites, such as councillors’ annual ethics declarations, procurement information and key information on development plans and planning decisions.”
Mr Devitt highlighted a local authority does not need a wide array of resources in order to be more transparent and accountable.
“Monaghan County Council, which came in joint-fourth in the rankings, is among the smaller of the 31 councils but does better than 26 of them.
“It shows that you don’t need massive resources to be more transparent and accountable.”
Analysis also showed a significant relationship between local authorities’ scores and budget deficits, with the local authorities with poorer systems and practices to promote integrity being much more likely to have larger budget deficits.
“This study and its corresponding index are by no means a ranking of corruption in local authorities. Instead, the aim of this report and index is to assess the local authorities’ systems and practices aimed at promoting integrity and preventing corruption.
“Similarly, though the index is split into categories of transparency, accountability and ethics, with scores for each of those categories, those scores do not indicate which authority is the most or least transparent, accountable or ethical, but instead which has the best systems and practices in place to ensure transparency, accountability and ethics”, concluded Kelly McCarthy, TI Ireland’s Advocacy and Research Coordinator.