By Senan Molony
Over half of politicians suspect corruption among colleagues
More than 60pc of TDs and senators believe corruption continues to corrode the Irish body politic, despite long-running efforts to grind out the truth
Corruption is continuing in the corridors of power, according to a confidential questionnaire of politicians.
Six out of 10 TDs and senators believe graft and payola, is alive and well, despite more than a decade of parallel tribunals into various scandals, according to new figures compiled by the University of Delaware.
More than a quarter (25.3pc) of Oireachtas members surveyed believed that “a few” of their fellow politicians are involved in corruption, according to the survey.
And 37.3pc felt that a greater number than a few, being “some”, were cynically in politics for what they could get out of it for themselves.
Taken together, the figure indicates that 62.6pc believe corruption continues to corrode the Irish body politic, despite long-running efforts to grind out the truth about alleged past episodes of bribery and backstairs deals.
The finding came in a broad-ranging survey by the University of Delaware of Irish legislators, a sample of among six European nations that included the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary and Slovakia.
Yesterday, Labour TD Joanna Tuffy confirmed she was one of the legislators that returned the questionnaire.
“I thought a few politicians in our country were involved in corruption. I generally would believe that most politicians are honest.”
She said obvious corruption had emerged, but there had been no major changes in the law as a result.
“I would be inclined to think there is still some corruption going on even though I would hope there is not,” she said.
Speaking as one of the Oireachtas respondents, without knowing the identities of others, she said: “The majority of us replied that either ‘a few’ or ‘some’ were currently engaged in corruption.
Ms Tuffy added: “We need to reform the planning laws so that people can’t make a fortune when politicians rezone land for development in future. Because that didn’t just give rise to corruption in the past, it has also wrecked our economy.”
Meanwhile, 43pc of TDs and senators supported tapping people’s telephones as an anti-terrorism measure, while 18pc supported the authorities’ having a right to stop and search people on the street.
Some 16pc of respondents felt that the security apparatus should “probably or definitely” have the right to detain people for as long as they want, without putting them on trial.
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