Friday 17 August 2018

Former government adviser must avoid lobbying minister he previously worked for

Former adviser gets permission to take up PR job

Ciarán Conlon. Photo: Conor Healy
Ciarán Conlon. Photo: Conor Healy

Fionnán Sheahan

A former government adviser has to avoid lobbying the minister he previously worked for in his new job.

Under new ethics laws, ministerial advisers have to get special legal permission from a State watchdog to take up a lobbying role within a year of leaving their government role.

Ciarán Conlon, former adviser to Fine Gael minister Richard Bruton, has joined MKC Communications, a public relations and public affairs companies.

He finished working with Mr Bruton in May, when the Education Minister took up the new role.

Mr Conlon has now become the first official under the new law to get special permission from the Standards In Public Office Commission (SIPO) to waive a 'cooling-off period'.

Under the conditions attached, Mr Conlon cannot be involved in lobbying of Mr Bruton or junior minister Damien English for a full year. And he can't be involved in lobbying the Department of Jobs.

Mr Conlon takes up the role of director of strategy and public policy with MKC and also joins the board.

During his time as adviser to Mr Bruton in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, he was instrumental in the creation and development of the highly successful Action Plan for Jobs.

Before the formation of the Fine Gael and Labour Party coalition in 2011, Mr Conlon was communications director for Fine Gael. For the 2011 general election, he was Fine Gael's director of election planning and strategy and came up with Enda Kenny's celebrated 'Five Point Plan'.

Irish Independent

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