I propose to take Questions Nos. 39 and 40 together.
The Regulation of Lobbying Act was enacted in 2015. Section 22 of the Act provides that specific categories of Designated Public Officials (“DPOs”) are subject to a one-year “cooling-off” period, during which they cannot engage in lobbying activities in specific circumstances, or be employed by, or provide services to, a person carrying on lobbying activities in specific circumstances.
The relevant DPOs for whom a “cooling-off” period applies are Ministers of the Government and Ministers of State, Special Advisers appointed under section 11 of the Public Services Management Act 1997 and public servants prescribed as a DPO by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform under section 6(2) of the Regulation of Lobbying Act. A list of the current DPOs in my Department is maintained on www.gov.ie/taoiseach.
The cooling-off period is a statutory requirement and applies for the full one-year term unless the relevant DPO applies to the Standards in Public Office Commission for consent to waive or reduce their cooling-off period. It is the responsibility of the relevant DPO to seek consent prior to taking up an offer of employment (or to provide services). Statistics on the number of applications for consent under section 22 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 are included in the annual Regulation of Lobbying report published by the Standards in Public Office Commission.
In addition civil servants are bound by their obligations under the Official Secrets Act 1963 and are also required to adhere to the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour, published by the Standards in Public Office Commission.