Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Accounting & Information Systems

First Advisor

Sylvia Dempsey


In the last decade the Irish accounting regulatory regime has been radically reformed from one consisting largely of private sector regulation to one where public sector regulation has increased importance. This change has taken place within a larger international context of the rise of the regulatory state, and a period of greater convergence between regulatory activities internationally. While an extensive body of research on this topic has accumulated in other countries, particularly America, Irish research has generally been focussed on the role of the accounting profession in this development. This study aims to build on the existing literature by focusing on the evolving developments in the regulatory regime for financial reporting and auditing of limited companies in Ireland, and its interaction and response to the events driving international developments. This study examines the extant literature on the concepts of public interest, economic individualism and regulation. It describes and compares the historical developments in Ireland, Britain and America, it scrutinises the Dáil and Seanad debates on the Companies Bill 2003, and uses a detailed semi-structured interview conducted with a government minister as its research methodologies.

Britain and America have had a broad influence on Ireland, for that reason they were selected for the comparative study to explore parallels and differences in the development of their regulatory regimes. This research found that unique aspects of the Irish state, as a result of historical forces, have influenced the course of regulatory developments in accounting in Ireland. It also found that an unprecedented combination of public interest focus, economic and political context, accounting lobby, financial scandal, and international regulatory convergence, drove through significant recent change in the Irish accounting regulatory regime. This paper suggests that these recent developments are indicative of a greater confidence and independence in Irish regulatory affairs.


A Dissertation Submitted in Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Masters of Business in Accounting (Research) in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems Cork Institute of Technology.

Access Level


Included in

Accounting Commons