Home  /  Guidelines  /  Guidelines for Office Holders
 
 

Additional Disclosure Requirements as Office Holders

A. Statement of Additional Interests

17. In addition to the annual statement of registrable interests described in paragraphs 8 to 13 above, an office holder is required to furnish a statement of additional interests to the appropriate Clerk within the same timescale. A statement of additional interests means a statement of any interests, of which the office holder has actual knowledge, of a spouse, a civil partner, a child or a child of a spouse or civil partner of the office holder, which could materially influence the office holder in the performance of the functions of his or her office by reason of the fact that such performance could so affect those interests as to confer on, or withhold from, the office holder or the spouse, civil partner or child, a substantial benefit. (The Statement of Additional Interests form is available on the Department of Finance website.)

18. A statement of additional interests is required for any period of time served as an office holder. Normally it would cover a calendar year. However, if a person became an office holder during a registration year, the statement would cover the period from the date of appointment up to the following 31 December. If a person ceased to be an office holder during a registration year, the statement would cover the period from 1 January that year or the date of appointment as an office holder, if later, up to the date on which the appointment ended. In all cases, the statement of additional interests should be furnished by the office holder to the appropriate Clerk not later than 31 January of the following year.

19. You will note from paragraph 17 above that a statement of additional interests is required only where an office holder has actual knowledge of an interest, of a spouse civil partner or child, or child of a spouse or civil partner, which could materially influence the office holder in the performance of the functions of his or her office. In previous editions of these guidelines, the Standards Commission has recommended that a 'nil' statement, rather than no statement, shuold be provided. The Standards Commission has decided to withdraw this recommendation and accordingly, no statement is required where there are no additional interests to be disclosed.

20. It is not necessary to specify the amount or monetary value of any interest included in a statement of additional interests.

21. A copy of each statement of additional interests of an office holder will be furnished by the appropriate Clerk to the Standards Commission. Copies of the statements of additional interests of Ministers and Ministers of State will also be furnished by the Clerk to the Taoiseach.

Notes:(i) Statement of Additional Interests forms are provided by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
(ii) Statements of Additional Interests are not published in the normal course.

B. Statement of a Material Interest in a Function to be Performed

22. In circumstances where an office holder (the first office holder) proposes to perform a function of his or her office, and he or she has actual knowledge of a material interest*, on his or her own part, or on the part of a connected person, or on the part of another office holder, or a person connected to another office holder, in a matter to which the function relates, the first office holder is required to furnish a statement in writing of the facts and the nature of the interest concerned. The statement should be furnished before performance of the function or, if this is not possible, as soon as may be afterwards.

23. If, in relation to paragraph 22 above, the office holder who is proposing to perform the function is the Taoiseach, he or she will furnish any such statement to the Chairman of the Standards Commission. If the office holder concerned is a Minister or Minister of State, he or she will furnish any such statement to the Taoiseach and the Standards Commission. Any other office holder will furnish any such statement to the Standards Commission.

24. If an office holder (the first office holder), or a person acting on his or her behalf, proposes to make a request to a second office holder in relation to the performance of a function by that second office holder, and the first office holder has actual knowledge that he or she, or a connected person, has a material interest* in a matter to which the function relates, the first office holder must furnish a statement in writing of the facts and the nature of the interest to the second office holder. The statement should be furnished before, or at the time of, the making of the request. The statement furnished to the second office holder must be provided by that second office holder to the Taoiseach and/or the Standards Commission in accordance with the procedure outlined in paragraph 23 above.

25 Where the knowledge or belief of an office holder (the first office holder) that another office holder, who is a member of the Government or a connected person to that other office holder, has a material interest* in a matter to which a function of the Government relates, derives solely from information in a statement made by that other office holder at, or for the purpose of, a meeting of the Government, it will not be necessary for the first office holder to furnish a statement in relation to that other office holder. In such circumstances, the Taoiseach will furnish a statement to the Standards Commission before the performance of the function or, if this is not possible, as soon as may be afterwards.

*For the purposes of paragraphs 22 to 25 above, the definition of "material interest" differs from that used in paragraph 15 above in relation to disclosure in proceedings of the Houses - see Appendix 1 of these guidelines for the definition as it applies to paragraphs 22 to 25.

C. Gifts

26. In addition to the following paragraphs dealing with gifts, office holders should familiarise themselves with the guidelines published by the Government, in August 1996 under section 15(4) of the 1995 Act, on the steps to be taken if an office holder, or a spouse or a child, is offered or supplied with property or services at below the commercial price, or with a loan of property free or below the commercial price, or a service free. The Government guidelines are reproduced in Appendix 3of these guidelines.

27. An office holder is required to surrender any gift with a value in excess of €650 which, by virtue of his or her office, is given to the office holder, or to a spouse, a civil partner, a child or a child of a spouse or civil partner of the office holder. Any such gift will be deemed to be a gift given to the State and will vest in the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. An office holder will, as soon as possible following receipt of such a gift, inform the Secretary General to the Government and retain custody of the property concerned on behalf of the State until such time as the instructions of the Secretary General regarding its disposal are received. The Secretary General will, in accordance with the general directions of the Government, arrange for custody of the property by, or on behalf of, the State or for its disposal by sale or gift. In the event of a sale the proceeds may be paid to the Exchequer or be donated to charity. The office holder is obliged to comply with the instructions of the Secretary General in this regard when so directed by him or her.

28. The surrender requirement will not apply to a gift given as a contribution for political purposes (in which case it may be disclosable under the Electoral Acts, 1997 as amended). Neither will it apply to a gift given by a friend or relative or civil partner for personal reasons or by virtue of another office or position held (other than office holder) or because of a status enjoyed in another capacity.

29. In the event of doubt, the Secretary General to the Government will determine the value of any gift and the question of whether any gift has been given by virtue of the office held.

Exemptions

30. Certain academic and diplomatic awards are not regarded as gifts for the purposes of the Ethics Acts -
Appendix 4 of these guidelines contains some examples and also deals with the aggregation of values in the context of disclosing and surrendering gifts.

D. Property and Services

31. If an office holder, or his or her spouse or civil partner or child or a child of a spouse, is offered or supplied with property or a service at a discount on the commercial price, or a loan of property free of charge or for less than the commercial value for the loan, or a service free of charge, the guidelines drawn up by the Government under section 15(4) of the 1995 Act will apply. These are reproduced in Appendix 3 of these guidelines.

32. The Government guidelines referred to in the previous paragraph do not apply to property, a loan of property or a service offered or supplied:

(i) as a political donation,
(ii) by a friend or relative of the recipient and for personal reasons only,
(iii) by virtue of an office (other than that of office holder) or position held or status in another capacity of the recipient, or
(iv) if the offer or supply is not intended or calculated to, and does not, confer a benefit, directly or indirectly, on the office holder concerned.

Medical and Legal Services

33. If disclosure of legal or medical services (including psychiatric or psychological services) is required, it will be sufficient merely to state that the services were supplied. No further details are required.

Special Advisers

34. Appendix 5 of these guidelines outlines the responsibilities of an office holder in relation to special advisers. Generally speaking, any special adviser whose salary exceeds the second long service increment (standard scale) of a higher executive officer in the civil service or who is appointed pursuant to the Public Service Management Act, 1997 (i.e. a senior special adviser) will be required, not later than 31 January each year, to provide a statement of interests and a statement of additional interests (i.e. of a spouse or children) to the employing office holder and the Standards Commission. The office holder will lay a copy of the statement of the senior special adviser's own interests (not spouse and children) before each House of the Oireachtas. Additionally, where a senior special adviser has a material interest in a function falling to be performed, he or she will provide the employing office holder, and the Standards Commission, with a statement of the facts of the interest. The senior special adviser will not perform the function in question unless reasons exist which compel the performance of the function by him or her. In such circumstances, a statement of the compelling reasons must be provided by the senior special adviser to the office holder and the Standards Commission. An office holder will also, in the case of a senior special adviser, lay, before each House, a statement of the qualifications of the person which are relevant to the position. For all special advisers, including those whose salary does not exceed the second long service increment (standard scale) of a higher executive officer in the civil service, an office holder is required to lay two other documents before the Houses, (1) a copy of the contract of service and (2) a statement as to whether the person is a relative of the office holder.

General Guidance

35. If an office holder has an interest which is not a registrable interest as outlined in paragraph 10, and described in detail in Appendix 2 of these guidelines, or if the office holder has actual knowledge that a spouse, a civil partner, a child or a child of a spouse has such an interest, the office holder may, at any time, prepare a statement of the interest and furnish it to the appropriate Clerk. Where such a statement is furnished, the legislation will apply and have effect as if the interest disclosed was a specified registrable interest.

36. An office holder may provide a statement in writing to the appropriate Clerk, at any time, notifying any change in registrable interests as a member, or in additional interests as an office holder.

37. Where, following a request, advice is received from the Standards Commission under section 25 of the 1995 Act that an interest is a registrable interest or an additional interest, or where such appears to be the case from guidelines published by the Standards Commission, a statement of that interest must be provided to the appropriate Clerk as soon as possible.

38. A person who becomes an office holder after a registration date may, at any time before the next registration date, furnish a statement of registrable interests and additional interests to the relevant Clerk.