The Ethics Acts
The Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 and 2001 :
- provide for the disclosure of interests, including material interests, which could influence Ministers of the Government, Ministers of State, the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann, the Attorney General, members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, directors of public bodies and public servants, including special advisers, in the performance of their official duties;
- require Oireachtas members including office holders, the Attorney General and senior public servants to furnish evidence of tax compliance;
- require the drawing up of codes of conduct for Oireachtas members, office holders and civil and public servants.
The operation of the Ethics Acts is supervised by the Standards in Public Office Commission (for non office holding Oireachtas members, by the Select Committees on Members’ Interests).
These bodies can investigate infringements of the legislation, either on their own initiative or following a valid complaint.
Pre-certified restatements of the Ethics Acts, by the Law Reform Commission, are available, under National Government, at: http://www.lawreform.ie/restatement/first-programme-of-restatement.333.html
In addition to the primary legislation above, secondary legislation, i.e. statutory instruments (SIs), apply the provisions of the Ethics Acts to:
- certain statutory offices and positions of employment and also to directorships and positions of employment in certain private bodies that are funded by the Oireachtas, in the public interest;
- every position of employment in both the civil and public service for which the remuneration is not less than the remuneration of the principal officer (PO) grade;
- directorships and to named positions of employment in public bodies.
The following, foundation, statutory instruments contain regulations that set out certain general rules on the operation of the Ethics Acts:
These statutory instruments are supplemented by further Statutory Instruments which list the directorships and positions of employment that are currently prescribed for the purposes of the Ethics Acts in the Civil Service and in the wider public sector:
The current ‘Civil Service’ Statutory Instrument is: SI 483 of 2018
The “Wider Public Service” Statutory Instrument is: SI 484 of 2018