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Facebook Ireland among EU's big lobbying spenders





Facebook Ireland has emerged as one of the single biggest spenders on EU lobbying of any Irish company.

The social network's Irish business spent around €500,000 and allocated eight staff on its effort to influence European MEPs and policymakers in 2013, the EU's revamped Transparency Register shows.

Facebook Ireland has had an office in Brussels since 2011. The Register does not provide comparative data with previous years so it is not possible to calculate the company's total spend on lobbying since then. Facebook would not confirm previous annual budgets or its budget for its Brussels office for 2015.

"Like many companies who operate in the EU we have a presence in Brussels. This small team helps us to keep abreast of the on-going debates which may impact on our sector as well as taking part in debates, events and sharing expertise" said a Facebook spokeswoman.

Facebook Ireland's spending far exceeded the average amount spent by Irish companies on EU lobbying. However it is relatively modest when compared with the EU lobbying bills of some other internet companies which were registered elsewhere but have large Irish operations.

Google spent almost €4m on lobbying in 2014 while Microsoft spent €4m to €4.5m in their last financial year.

Ibec spent between €400,000 and €500,000 in 2014 on lobbying. The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland spent between €300,000 and €400,000. The Irish Funds Industry Association spent between €300,000 and €400,000 in 2014. Electricity suppliers' trade body the Electricity Association of Ireland spent between €50,000 and €100,000.

Sunday Indo Business