Wide-ranging new measures to tackle corruption have been published by the Government.

The Criminal Justice (Corruption) Bill proposes penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment and unlimited fines, as well as giving the courts power to remove public officials from office and exclude them from holding office for up to 10 years.

The Heads of the Bill also include a recommendation from the Mahon Tribunal which would create a new offence of making payments knowingly or recklessly to a third party who intends to use them as bribes.

The Bill gives the Director of Public Prosecution extra powers to bring prosecutions, by providing for the presumption of corruption where someone makes a payment to an official when they have an interest in the functions they discharge.

This would include cases where an applicant for planning permission makes a payment to a planning official; where a public official has a lifestyle or property out of proportion to their official income; or where they accept a gift in breach of ethics.

In a statement, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the Government was determined that corruption in any form will not be tolerated.

He said Ireland must be, and be seen as, a country where business and public life can only be undertaken honestly and openly.

An academic specialising in the area, Dr Elaine Byrne of Trinity College, said, if the Bill is not watered down, it will be one of the most radical pieces of legislation internationally on corruption.