Elaine Byrne: Ethics watchdog is a bystander when it comes to misbehaviour

In regulating TD’s misbehaviours, the Standards in Public Office Commission is effectively a sanctions-free zone, while the outgoing Ombudsman Peter Tyndall says that he has ‘never known anything more unfit for purpose’

Peter Tyndall: the outgoing Ombudsman expressed his frustration with Ireland’s ethics legislation. Picture: Maura Hickey

The legislation underpinning the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo), Ireland’s ethics oversight body, was introduced in the mid-1990s as a reaction to tribunal revelations of big donations to politicians.

We need to look no further than Charles Haughey, who is once again in the news with a landmark biography on his life published last week by Professor Gary Murphy. The former taoiseach received more than IR£9 million in personal donations over a 17-year period. ...