IRELAND has been named as the 18th least corrupt country in the world, in the latest rankings by Transparency International.
The global coalition against corruption revealed that in two-thirds of the 168 countries included in the 2015 index, corruption remained a serious issue.
But, the Corruptions Perceptions Index did show that more countries were moving forward rather than backwards in their battle against corruption.
Denmark topped the list for the second year running as the least corrupt country, whilst North Korea and Somalia found themselves bottom of the ranking.
The countries regarded as corruption-free maintained high levels of press freedom, public access to government budget information, high levels of integrity among people in power and judiciaries that are independent from government.
Amongst the lowest ranked countries conflict and war, poor governance, weak public institutions and a lack of independence in the media were the common traits.
Globally, Greece, Senegal and Britain are the biggest improvers in regards to corruption, with Libya, Australia, Brazil, Spain and Turkey declining over the past four years.
Along with Japan and Hong Kong, Ireland places 18th in the least, making it one of the least perceived corrupt countries worldwide.
Britain ranks tenth in the list, with the US six places behind.
In 2015, countries such as Guatemala, Sri Lanka and Ghana, citizen activists worked hard to drive out corruption, sending a message to encourage other nations to follow suit.
“The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world,” said Jose Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
“But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption.”
Transparency International gives a voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption, and works together with governments, businesses and citizens to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals.