On the back of public concerns over scandals at Telecom Éireann, Greencore and in the beef industry a new code of ethics has been drawn up for politicians.

Under the new act those elected to the Dáil must make a full declaration of their business interests. A select committee of the Dáil has been set up to police the legislation and assist TDs in making their declarations. The committee will also act as a watchdog investigating complaints of conflict of interest.

TDs will have to declare: any shareholding worth more than £10,000; gifts worth more than £500; and property outside the family home worth over £10,000. They will also have to provide details of any free foreign travel. Chairman of the committee Michael Bell said that TDs who were in breach of the act would pay a stiff penalty saying,

They can in fact be suspended indefinitely. That's the ultimate penalty

Alan Dukes is sceptical of how effective the act will be and feels that the declarations do not cover things that give rise to corruption in public life.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 16 January 1996. The reporter is Paschal Sheehy.