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Matheson lawyers highlight lobbying changes
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12 Jan 2024 / ireland Print

Matheson lawyers highlight lobbying changes

Lawyers at Matheson have urged organisations to assess whether they are captured by new obligations under amendments to lobbying legislation.

Individuals and organisations are prohibited from carrying on lobbying activities unless they are registered on the Register of Lobbying.

The changes, which are linked to registration and filing, came into effect on 1 January 2024, and there is a deadline of 24 January for relevant organisations to submit a lobbying return.

The reforms were introduced by the Regulation of Lobbying and Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) (Amendment) Act 2023.

Land development

In a note on the firm’s website, the Matheson lawyers outline the questions that organisations need to consider before determining whether or not they are carrying out lobbying.

The changes that came into force on 1 January include:

  • Representative organisations, advocacy bodies, bodies formed to represent the interests of their members, and bodies that are established mainly to take up specific issues are now within the scope of the 2015 act,
  • The definition of lobbying relating to the development or zoning of land will be extended to apply not just to a person who makes a relevant communication concerning development or zoning, but also anyone who “manages or directs the making of” such a communication,
  • A lobbyist will be required, for the purposes of the lobbying register, to provide details of where they carry out their main activities, or if there is no such address, the address at which they ordinarily reside, and
  • The 2023 act allows bodies to temporarily deregister where they have ceased lobbying activities, removing the need to submit nil returns.

The Matheson lawyers urge organisations to assess “as soon as possible” whether they are covered by the changes.

Other provisions of the 2023 act, which relate to the new administrative sanctions regime for breaches of the cooling-off period for designated public officials, will come into effect on 1 June 2024.

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