The Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) has welcomed the publication of the first review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD.
PRII CEO John Carroll said “We welcome the publication of this review. With almost 11,500 returns made by over 1,600 organisations, it is obvious the Act is functioning well. The PRII has played a constructive role in the development and implementation of this legislation. Since the Act was signed into law in 2015, more than 200 members have undertaken the PRII’s Regulation of Lobbying Act compliance training. This commitment to compliance from the communications profession is demonstrated by any analysis of the Lobbying Register which shows that communications professionals are leading the way in supporting their organisation’s requirements under this Act.”
John Carroll continued “The Lobbying Act, like all other legislation, needs time to bed down and any major changes to it now would just create confusion. We therefore welcome the decision not to expand the category of Designated Public Officials to Principal Officers now. Broadening this categorisation to include Principal Officers is a logical step but should take place at the next review due in 2019 not at this early stage in the Act’s implementation.”
John Carroll concluded “In our submission to the Department’s review though, we did highlight concerns about compliance in relation to lobbying that takes place overseas. Currently confusion exists on this point with only a small number of overseas organisations having made returns on the lobbying register. This needs to be addressed. The PRII proposed a simple legislative amendment that would clarify that it does not matter where the lobbying of public officials takes place, whether in Dublin or in Brussels or anywhere else, that it must be reported. It is unfortunate that this amendment was not adopted, but the PRII will continue to take forward our members concerns around this and other issues to improve the Act into the future.”
The PRII submission to the review can be accessed here.
The lobbying activity undertaken by the PRII in relation to this and other pieces of legislation can be viewed on the Lobbying Register here.
Download the review in PDF here.