The Standards in Public Office Commission has expressed disappointment that a review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 has not backed any of the changes it has recommended to the legislation.
It was commenting after the publication yesterday (Tuesday) of a review of the legislation carried out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The watchdog, which has administered the act since it came into force in 2015, had identified a number of areas that would benefit from amendment or clarification, as well as other aspects not covered by the legislation.
It made a submission that included 22 separate recommendations, which it believed would strengthen the act’s operation, if adopted.
These included enforcement powers for breaches of the act’s post-employment provisions, which restrict the lobbying activities of former public officials.
The act requires those who lobby designated public officials to register and report on their lobbying activities every four months.
The commission says it is “generally working well”, and that the Register of Lobbying now has nearly 2,000 registrants from all sectors of the Irish economy, and more than 40,000 returns in the system.
But it takes issue with the recommendations in yesterday’s report which suggest that most concerns about the legislation can be addressed through greater guidance and clarification by the commission.