PRII delegation meets Minister Donohoe to discuss Lobbying Act

Earlier this week, the PRII had the opportunity to meet with Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This meeting came on foot of the PRII's submission to his Department's review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act, and possible reforms and changes that maybe made to the Act. The meeting was very positive, with the Minister acknowledging that the Institute and its members were key stakeholders. The Minister stressed that he had not come to any conclusions on what would be in the Department's review, and was coming to the matter with an open mind.

The main issues that the PRII delegation highlighted were:

  • the need for clarity around the application of this legislation to lobbying activity that takes place overseas;
  • for government departments and state agencies to be under a statutory obligation to update the listings of Designated Public Officials (DPOs) on their websites at specific intervals (every four months at least);
  • the importance that the Standards Commission are properly resourced to deal with its new enforcement powers, as well as to continue its outreach and engagement work;
  • that consideration be given to allowing the Standards Commission the power to 'name and shame' non compliant lobbyists; and
  • that the legislation is entirely one-sided in that it places all the obligations on the lobbyists, and the need for the legislation to place some onus on public officials to declare themselves and actively support compliance.

 

It was also suggested that it may make sense for companies to be placed under a requirement, to declare in the annual accounts that they are compliant with the Regulation of Lobbying Act. The meeting was attended by PRII President Cian Connaughton, Immediate Past President Jacqueline Hall, National Council Public Affairs representative Sinéad Fennell and PRII CEO John Carroll.

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