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Ireland

Regulation of Lobbying (IE0014)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Ireland, First Action Plan, 2014-16

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department of Public Expenditure & Reform

Support Institution(s): All public bodies will be involved in implementation once the Bill is enacted

Policy Areas

Legislation & Regulation, Lobbying

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ireland End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: Yes Starred

Early Results: Outstanding Outstanding

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Secure Government approval for, publish and enact the regulation of Lobbying Bill. Development of a Transparency Code in relation to the transparent operation of working groups, task forces etc appointed by a Minister or Department.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

(✪) 3.4: Lobbying Regulation

Commitment Text:

Action 3.4 - Regulation Lobbying - Secure Government approval for, publish and enact the regulation of Lobbying Bill. Development of a Transparency Code in relation to the transparent operation of working groups, task forces etc appointed by a Minister or Department.

Responsible institution: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER)

Supporting institution(s): All public bodies will be involved in implementation once the Bill is enacted.

Start date: July 2014                                                                                     End date: March 2015

 

 

Editorial note: Commitment 3.4 is clearly relevant to OGP values as written, has transformative potential impact, and is substantially or completely implemented and therefore qualifies as a starred commitment. 

Commitment Aim

The 2015 Regulation of Lobbying Act’s main aim is to shed light on lobbying in the development of public policy.[Note 46: Link to the Act http://bit.ly/1ZZtWhc (last accessed September 9, 2015)] In this regard, the law seeks to add transparency and accountability to the overall policy-making process by allowing citizens to see which lobbyists were seeking to influence governmental departments making policy. The main principle guiding the law is to encourage transparency in the actions between government (including elected officials and civil servants) and all sectors of society on areas of policy that impact all citizens, primarily by developing a lobbying registrar where all lobbyists must register before contacting public officials.

Status

Midterm: Complete

This is a pre-existing initiative that seeks to introduce a Register of Lobbyists and new rules regarding the practice of lobbying as part of the Public Service Reform Programme launched by the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform in November 2011. By April 2013, the Government approved the drafting of the Bill.

This commitment was completed in year one of the action plan: the bill was published in 2014, passed through both the Lower and Upper Chambers of Parliament, and signed into law in the first year of the action plan in early 2015.

As of September 2015, the public Registrar of Lobbyists in Ireland was set-up and fully functioning, with a newly appointed Registrar (Sherry Perrault) and team in place and housed in the Standards in Public Office (SIPO). In year two of the action plan, an Advisory Group has also been established and is comprised of various stakeholders, including from business, unions, and NGOs. The advisory group was initially set up by DPER, with input from the Standards in Public Office Commission with regard to membership. DPER envisaged participation from a wide cross-section of civil society, and accordingly identified a list of organisations from various sectors, sending a letter inviting them to nominate a representative. It was a targeted call rather than an open call per se, although having a plurality of actors serving on the Group was always envisaged and subsequently assured.  

Did it open government?

Access to information: Outstanding

Civic participation: Did not change

Public Accountability: Outstanding

The change to government practice is outstanding on three main fronts related to OGP relevance. First, in terms of access to information, as of mid-September 2016, desk research showed that there is already over 5200 returns that the public can access to identify who is lobbying whom and about what, also reflecting the idea that lobbyists are complying with the rules.[Note 47: See: https://www.lobbying.ie/app/home/search?currentPage=0&pageSize=10&queryText=&subjectMatters=&subjectMatterAreas=&period=&returnDateFrom=&returnDateTo=&lobbyistId=&dpo=&publicBodys=&jobTitles=&client= ] Second, having such information makes it possible to hold both public and private officials accountable for their actions. According to the Irish Times, the Irish press has increasingly reported instances of high-powered lobbyists meeting with state officials, thus bringing these meetings to the attention of the public.[Note 48: See: http://www.irishtimes.com/business/media-and-marketing/caveat-thank-you-for-lobbying-now-fill-out-the-register-1.2653796 ] Citizens armed with this information have new opportunities to hold officials accountable for their actions when developing public policy by, for example, not voting for certain officials in the next election. Furthermore, with such information available, citizens and members of civil soceity living in strong regulatory systems such as Ireland have new opportunities to better inform themselves about who are the key actors in state decisions, therefore increasing their participation in politics, if they deem that certain lobbysts are exercising undue influence. This relation between strength of regulatory frameworks and participation is further developed in a comparative study of lobbying regulations.[Note 49: Chari, R., J.Hogan and G. Murphy, Regulating Lobbying: a Global Comparison (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012)]

Carried forward?

This commitment was not carried forward into the next action plan.


Ireland's Commitments

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  2. Support Public Participation Networks

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  3. Improve Access to Justice: Reducing Costs

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  4. Improve Access to Justice: Framework to Assist Vulnerable Persons

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  5. Improve Access to Justice: Oversight of Legal Practitioners

    IE0035, 2016, Justice

  6. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: General

    IE0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: Youth

    IE0037, 2016, Marginalized Communities

  8. Enhance Customer Engagement

    IE0038, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Improve Access to Government Services Through Technology

    IE0039, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Participatory Budgeting

    IE0040, 2016, Participation in Budget Processes

  11. Improve Transparency of Government Service Providers

    IE0041, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  12. Enhance Fiscal Transparency

    IE0042, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  13. Introduce Modern Document Management Procedures

    IE0043, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  14. Develop an Open Data Strategy 2017-2020

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  15. Invest in Data Infrastructure That Will Result in Better Open Data

    IE0045, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Starred commitment Develop a Code of Practice for the Governance of Charities

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  17. Starred commitment Public Sector Standards Bill

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  18. Establish a Register of Beneficial Ownership

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  19. Establishment of Best Practice Standards for Open Data

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  20. Establishment of Ireland’S Open Data Platform

    IE0002, 2014, E-Government

  21. Undertake an Audit of Key Datasets for Publication

    IE0003, 2014, Open Data

  22. Establish a Roadmap for the Open Data and an Evaluation Framework to Provide Assessment of the Ongoing Open Data

    IE0004, 2014, Open Data

  23. Establishment of an Open Data Ireland Governance Board (ODIGB) and Steering and Implementation Group (SIG) for Open Data Ireland

    IE0005, 2014, Open Data

  24. Signing up to the G8 Open Data Charter

    IE0006, 2014, Open Data

  25. Implementing Open Data

    IE0007, 2014, Open Data

  26. Improve Computer Literacy Through Implementation of Proposed New Digital Strategy for Schools

    IE0008, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Review National and International Practice to Develop Revised Principles / Code for Public Engagement/Consultation with Citizens, Civil Society and Others by Public Bodies.

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  28. Starred commitment Hold Referenda Arising from the Recommendations of the Constitutional Convention

    IE0010, 2014, Gender

  29. Starred commitment Ethics Reform

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  30. Strengthening Freedom of Information - Implement the Code of Practice for Freedom of Information (FOI).

    IE0012, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  31. Reform of FOI

    IE0013, 2014, Capacity Building

  32. Starred commitment Regulation of Lobbying

    IE0014, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  33. Starred commitment Encourage, Protect and Raise Awareness of Whistleblower Duties and Protections

    IE0015, 2014, Whistleblower Protections

  34. Measures to Increase Citizen Participation in Decision Making on Policy and Legislative Proposals. Systemic Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of Draft Bills

    IE0016, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

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    IE0018, 2014, Private Sector

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  39. Support Children and Young People as Citizens. Develop, Finalise and Publish the First Government Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-Making.

    IE0021, 2014, Capacity Building

  40. Maximise Participation and Understanding of Young People in Civic Life

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  41. Development of an ICT Strategy

    IE0023, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  42. Data Sharing and Governance Bill

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  43. Public Services Card

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  44. Single Customer View

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  45. Local Government Portal

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  46. New Local Enterprise Offices

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  47. Review and Enhancement of Complaints Procedures and Using Feedback to Improve Services Across the Public Service; a Review of Citizen Complaints Procedures Will Be Undertaken.

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  48. Enhance Customer Engagement

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