The number of complaints received by the Standards in Public Office Commission under the Ethics Acts increased substantially last year.

In its annual report, the commission states that 427 complaints were received in 2012, compared to 38 in the previous year.

It said the increase was entirely due to multiple complaints about Independent Tipperary North TD Michael Lowry and his ownership of land in Wigan in England.

The Dáil Committee on Members' Interests had referred a total of 388 complaints about Mr Lowry to the commission, 70 of which were found to be invalid.