Much of the debate in Ireland around corruption focuses on developing countries and the risks for Irish development aid. This is based not only on genuine concern about the effectiveness of Irish aid efforts, but also on the mistaken idea that most corruption occurs in the context of development aid.

Corruption is an issue of concern to those who are committed to global justice; however, it is not just a development issue. Corruption occurs in all countries where the mix of opportunity and inclination exists, especially in the interface between the private and public sector.

Where it exists, corruption destabilises democratic government, harms trade and investment, threatens the environment and encourages the abuse of human rights. Corruption impinges on basic social services and threatens the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Corruption especially affects the poor. Measures to prevent corruption and mitigate its impact on vulnerable populations must be put in place as a matter of justice. The best way to do this is by strengthening formal and informal checks and balances, promoting accountability across all sectors, and creating and enforcing effective legislation.

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