Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tom Parlon

A spokesman for the Irish branch of Transparency International this morning on Morning Ireland raised questions about the appropriateness of former Junior Minister Tom Parlon's new job as head of the Construction Industry Federation.

Mr Parlon confirmed the move yesterday. The opposition were of course going to raise questions but so too have Transparency International, a global anti-corruption group who seek to tackle the issues surrounding and causes of corruption.

As part of his role in the last government, the former Laois-Offaly TD oversaw the Office of Public Works. The OPW gives out lucrative contracts to construction firms and in my experience happen to be the most frustratingly slow-moving public office so that any in with that crowd is bound to be valuable.

The Irish branch of Transparency International is now calling for new regulations to prevent the situation whereby ministers can "make decisions with one eye on future employment prospects". It is bound to be a real issue that private firms prove to be good career moves for those with experience in the public sector and it is very likely that moves by civil servants bringing insider knowledge with them occur quite often, without being regulated.

Transparency International compile a Corruption Perception Index annually which would have been pored over in my political corruption classes in another life. We are consistently in the mid teens and moved a position in the correct direction last year. Have a look for yourself here. Ideas and understandings of corruption are so intangible that perception is the most substantial measure of it we can look to.

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