Ethics and Declarations of Interest
Under the Local Government Act 2001, provision has been made for an ethical framework to operate within Local Government. It includes a publicly accessible register.
Implementation of the ethics framework
The new ethics framework for members and for relevant employees was implemented with effect from 1 January 2003. This required a number of actions to be taken by local authorities, such as putting procedures in place to deal with:
- the systems of annual declaration by elected members and relevant employees;
- the disclosure requirements of the Act for elected members and relevant employees about matters that may arise on occasion and in which they have a beneficial interest.
Tipperary County Council has currently assigned the duties of Ethics Registrar with effect from 1st June 2022 to Ger Walsh, Senior Executive Officer, by Chief Executive’s Order, under Section 173 of the Act. The Ethics Registrar is responsible for the issue of the annual declaration forms to councillors and relevant employees. Nobody may hold this position for more than two years.
A register of interests is compiled from the annual declarations and made available for public inspection.
Council Members declarations may be inspected at the office of Tipperary County Council, Civic Offices, Clonmel.
Q1. Is there any legislation to govern the ethics and conduct of local authority members?
In January 2003 a new ethics framework came into operation governing the ethics and codes of conduct of local authority members.
As a general rule, this framework provides that it is the duty of every local authority member and employee to maintain proper standards of integrity, conduct and concern for the public interest. In addition, is established for each member a system of annual declaration of interests, disclosure of interest in a matter, which comes before the authority, and a public register of interests.
The interests which have to be declared annually are out in Section 175 of the Local government Act 2001 and associated regulations (The Irish Statute Book http://www.irishstatutebook.ie).
As a general guide, they include holdings of land or other property, shareholdings, directorships, contracts with a local authority. Each member must complete and return each year a form setting out his or her interests.
Q2. Where can I access the Declaration of Interests of Councillors?
A Public Register of Declarable Interests is kept by the Local Authority and is available to view at Corporate Services, Civic Offices, Clonmel. Also available electronically at this link.
Q3. Is there a Code of Conduct for Councillors