Politicians and other office holders should face fines for breaches of disclosure requirements, according to a new report.
These could be levied by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) in a significant strengthening of its powers.
The report, which was published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, examined the ethics framework in advance of drafting new legislation to overhaul the area later this year.
Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe has recused himself from the overhaul of the ethics framework and it is being handled by department officials.
This is because he is currently the subject of a SIPO complaint relating to a failure to declare postering done on his behalf during two general elections.
The report recommends that a range of appropriate sanctions is developed with fixed fines for breaches of disclosure obligations.
It found that after 20 years of SIPO, its effectiveness has decreased because its investigations have not been followed by effective sanctions.
The report said: "It can also be seen as a waste of resources in terms of the specialist expertise required to bring investigations (often taking a number of years) to a sufficient level of proof to support clear findings only for them to have little or no consequences."
There has been renewed focus on the area of disclosures in the wake of two ministerial resignations over the past six months.
The report also finds that office holders should disclose their interests upon taking up the position and also update them as required.
Currently, disclosures must only be made annually.
The report also said disclosures should be underpinned by electronic rather than paper-based reporting.