Thursday, 18 April 2013

Ceisteanna (14)

Seamus Kirk


14. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans for the establishment of a register of lobbyists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17856/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My Department is currently finalising the General Scheme of a Bill which will provide for the statutory regulation of lobbying. It is my intention to present these proposals to Government shortly and to submit them to the Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Committee thereafter for pre-legislative scrutiny.

The aim of regulating lobbying activity through registration and reporting requirements is to strengthen public confidence in politics and in the business of government to increase the accountability of decision makers and to subject public policy making, and those who seek to influence it, to greater openness and transparency. It would facilitate the appropriate independent scrutiny of lobbying activity.

The development of policy on lobbying regulation has been informed by several very valuable sources of information, analysis and experience.

The OECD has developed a set of principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying which have been adopted as a recommendation by all OECD Member States. The OECD principles formed the basis of the consultation exercise carried out by the Department earlier this year.

The project has also drawn on information on regulatory regimes operating for example in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and several European countries. The voluntary register in place in the European Union institutions was also analysed along with proposals for a self-regulatory regime in the UK.

There have been five Private Members Bills published on the regulation of lobbying since 1999. These have proved very useful in illustrating the key detailed features of the possible shape of lobbying regulation.

My Department’s assessment has also derived significant benefit from the work of Irish researchers in TCD, DCU and DIT who have provided guidance and insights drawn from the authoritative work that they have published comparing global approaches to lobbying regulation.