Tuesday 17 October 2017

Register of lobbyists will be set up 'to restore trust'

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin published the Registration of Lobbying Bill yesterday
Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin published the Registration of Lobbying Bill yesterday
Brendan Howlin
Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

THE Government is to set up a new register of organisations and companies which lobby public representatives.

Individuals lobbying in relation to the zoning of land will also have to register.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin published the Registration of Lobbying Bill yesterday and said it was aimed at finding out "who is contacting whom about what".

Mr Howlin said the bill was "an important step in the process of helping to rebuild public trust in the political system by throwing light on its interaction with those who seek to shape and influence policy across all sections of society".

The new website register will be run by the Standards in Public Office Commission and organisations, PR companies and businesses with more than 10 employees will have to record their interactions with TDs, councillors and senior civil servants.

Individuals will only have to register if they are lobbying on matters relating to planning and rezoning, but will be exempt from this if it's in relation to their own private residence.

There will also be a cooling-off period of one year for former ministers and senior officials during which they have to get approval for any lobbying of the public body where they used to work.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) said the new register would be unworkable and impractical for it as an organisation with 90,000 members.

However, Mr Howlin said the requirements were balanced and there would be a review of them after a year.

Irish Independent

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