Sporting Bodies & NGOs May Come Under Remit of Lobbying Law
Strict new lobbying regulations could force sporting organisations such as the GAA, as well as charities, to record publicly all contacts with politicians and detail the subject matter of their meetings.
A statutory register of lobbyists being formulated by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin is expected to include NGOs, cultural organisations and representative bodies, along with specialist public relations professionals.
Work has begun on proposed legislation, which aims to take account of Ireland’s “unique political environment” and ensure that the access of voluntary groups and citizens to their political representatives at constituency clinics is not restricted.
Interested parties have until the end of the month to respond to the department’s consultative process, which is based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s principles for transparency and integrity in lobbying. The department has directly contacted 100 organisations to seek their views.
Charities, sporting organisations and other bodies employing people in paid roles, who engage in more than “once-off” engagement with Ministers and senior civil or public servants on specific issues, will become subject to the planned legislation.
Those working in the public affairs divisions of high-profile PR and communications companies will also come under the remit of the proposed law.
A large number of former politicians and senior party officials work in the sector. They include former Fianna Fáil minister Noel Dempsey and former TD Jim Glennon; former Progressive Democrats ministers Liz O’Donnell and Tom Parlon; the Labour Party’s former press director Tony Heffernan; and former Fine Gael adviser Mark Mortell.
The rules to regulate the sector will result in the recording not only of the existence of the lobbying role within organisations, but also the contacts taking place and the subject matter of those contacts.
The programme for Government committed the Coalition to introducing new rules concerning lobbying, with the public service reform programme stating that work on legislation would begin in the first quarter of this year and be published in the first quarter of next year.
The final report of the planning tribunal is expected to make recommendations on lobbying.
Fianna Fáil recently proposed a Bill that would make it mandatory for political lobbyists to register and disclose their clients and activities.
Submissions should be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Under the Fianna Fáil proposals, those who fail to register their activities could be fined €30,000 and jailed for two years.
Take Part in Consultation
You can find out more about the conultation process here.
Submissions should be made to: email@example.com.
(source: Irish Times)