The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on 11 March 2015.
The Act establishes a web-based register of lobbying, making information available to the public on the identity of those who are communicating with Government and senior civil and public servants on public policy matters.
What is lobbying under the Act?
The Act describes lobbying activities (relevant communications) as the making of communications, either written or oral, personally (directly or indirectly) to a designated public official which are not exempted communications and which concern the initiation, development or modification of any public policy, the preparation of legislation, or the award of any grant, loan contract, licence etc. involving public funds.
Lobbying activity is carried out by:
Persons in the course of their business in return for payment by a client An employer, or their agent or employee, on behalf of the employer Any person about the development or zoning of land Who does it apply to?
The Act covers the lobbying of Ministers, TDs, Senators, MEPs, local Councillors, special advisers, and designated public officials.
Each public body will have to maintain an up-to-date list of designated public officials.
Registration and returns
The Act requires those engaged in lobbying activities to register their activities on a public register maintained by the Commission for Standards in Public Office (SIPO).
A registered person must make three returns per year setting out any lobbying activities. That return must include details such as:
If lobbying was done on behalf of a client, information about the client To whom the lobbying was made The subject matter of the communications and the results they were intended to secure The name of the person with primary responsibility for carrying on the lobbying activities The name of any person who is or has been a designated public official employed by, or providing services to, the registered lobbyist An application can be made to SIPO for delayed publication of the material contained in the return if it could have a serious, adverse effect on business interests or cause a material financial loss or seriously prejudice a person's competitive position.
Investigation, offences and penalties
Contraventions set out in the Act include carrying on lobbying activities without being registered, failing to make a return, providing inaccurate or misleading information to SIPO...