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Thursday, May 12, 2016

75% of Irish firms ‘affected by corruption or bribery’

Bribery and corruption remain stubbornly widespread among Irish companies despite acknowledgement of the potential harm they can cause businesses, a new report has found.

 Almost two thirds of board-level executives in Irish firms feel their anti-bribery policy does not work.
Some 75% of Irish business leaders claim to have identified bribery or corruption in their organisation too.
According to Neil O’Mahony of legal firm Eversheds Ireland, which carried out the research, the results show executives understand the threat corruption and bribery pose to their business, but reveals a contradictory response.

“It is clear bribery remains a problem in Ireland,” said Mr O’Mahony.
“Businesses do understand the seriousness of bribery and corruption and the potentially devastating impact of public investigation on their bottom line and their reputation. 
“This in itself represents significant progress.
“The fact that so few Irish businesses see potential prosecution as the most important risk of bribery and corruption has profound implications for government’s anti-bribery strategies.
“Governments have typically tried to fight bribery by deterring companies with stringent penalties, but they need to work with the private sector to articulate the business case for anti-bribery.”

The findings expose an apparent clash of ethical intentions and commercial objectives among firms.
All of the Irish respondents said their anti-bribery policy made it more difficult to build their business while nearly a third are concerned that employees would resort to bribery or corruption to achieve growth targets.

As Mr O’Mahony eluded to, legal considerations were considerably less important to Irish executives than potential commercial issues.
Just one in 10 saw legal ramifications as the main deterrent to bribery or corruption being important.

In contrast, 40% identified the potential impact on commercial success as their biggest concern. 
Only half surveyed said they understood their anti-bribery policy, while one in 10 felt they have undertaken sufficient anti-bribery training. 

Four in 10 believe their approach to managing bribery and corruption is appropriate.
Peter O Dwyer