Ethics in Public Office Act 1995

Gifts to office holders.

15

15. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, where a gift the value of which exceeds F37 [ 650 ] is given to an office holder by virtue of his or her office—

( a) the property the subject of the gift shall be deemed to be a gift given to the State and shall vest in the Minister,

( b) the office holder shall, as soon as may be, inform the Secretary to the Government of the gift and shall retain custody of the property on behalf of the State until arrangements are made in relation thereto under paragraph (c) and the office holder shall dispose of the property in accordance with those arrangements when so directed by the Secretary to the Government, and

( c) the Secretary to the Government shall arrange, in accordance with the general directions of the Government, for—

(i) custody of the property by or on behalf of the State (including the giving of it on loan to a person), or

(ii) its disposal, whether by sale or gift,

and shall dispose, in accordance with those general directions, of any proceeds of such a loan or sale (including by their payment into the Exchequer or disposal for charitable purposes).

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a gift given to—

( a) an office holder,

( b) the spouse F38 [ or civil partner ] of an office holder, or

( c) a child of an office holder or of his or her spouse,

is given to the office holder by virtue of his or her office unless the gift is given—

(i) as a donation, or

(ii) by a friend or relative F39 [ or civil partner ] of the recipient and for personal reasons only, or

(iii) by virtue of an office (other than that by reference to which a person is an office holder) or position held or the status enjoyed by the recipient.

(3) The Secretary to the Government shall, in accordance with the general directions of the Government—

( a) determine, for the purposes of subsection (1), the value of property the subject of a gift given to an office holder by virtue of his or her office, and

( b) determine, for the purposes of subsections (1) and (2), the question whether a gift is given to an office holder by virtue of his or her office,

if there is a doubt in relation to the value aforesaid or, as the case may be, the question aforesaid.

(4) ( a) Subject to paragraphs (b) and (c), the Government shall draw up and publish to office holders guidelines concerning the steps to be taken by an office holder if—

(i) he or she, or

(ii) the spouse F40 [ or civil partner ] of the office holder, or

(iii) a child of the office holder or of his or her spouse,

is offered or supplied with—

(I) property or a service at a price that is less than the commercial price of the property or service, as the case may be,

(II) a loan of property free of charge or for a consideration that is less than the commercial consideration for the loan, or

(III) a service free of charge.

( b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to property, a loan of property or a service—

(i) offered or supplied—

(I) as a donation,

(II) by a friend or relative of the person to whom the offer or supply is made and for personal reasons only,

(III) by virtue of an office (other than one by reference to which a person is an office holder) or position held or status enjoyed by the person to whom it is offered or supplied,

or

(ii) the offer or supply of which is not intended or calculated to confer, and does not confer, directly or indirectly, a benefit on the office holder concerned.

( c) The Government shall cause a draft of any proposed guidelines under paragraph (a) to be given to the Commission and shall, before drawing up the guidelines, consider any submissions made to them by the Commission in relation to the draft.

( d) Office holders shall act in accordance with guidelines published to them under this subsection.

(5) Where, for any reason, the Secretary to the Government is unable to perform his or her functions under this section or the position of Secretary to the Government is vacant, those functions may be performed by such other person as the Taoiseach may determine.

(6) Section 19 (2) of the State Property Act, 1954, shall not apply to a gift to which this section applies but where land vests in the Minister by virtue of subsection (1), the land shall become and be State land for the purposes of that Act and may be dealt with accordingly.

(7) In this section, “ donation” means a contribution for political purposes.