Companies listed on the Irish Stock Exchange need to improve their corporate governance practices, according to the market’s chief executive, Deirdre Somers.

If companies don’t raise their game in response to recent governance failings, Ireland will find it harder to attract foreign investment, Somers told a conference on corporate governance reform.

Most companies listed in Dublin have good standards of governance, Somers said. But she added: “Companies must consider whether their historical practices, although accepted in the past, will meet market expectations in the future.”

Somers also called on investors to get tougher with companies that had poor governance practices. She told them to “demand better standards and require better disclosure and then differentiate and penalize those companies that do not provide them.”

Over the last two years Ireland had seen “a myriad of significant corporate governance failures in our private companies, semi-state, and public-sector bodies,” said Somers.

Problems included, "political adn opaque" board appointment processes, companies that were "run like personal fiefdoms," and public companies refusing to provide information or be accountable.