Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal

When it comes to lobbying public officials, being called Bono may be a help

The U2 frontman’s name is just one of many thousands of returns made to the new Irish lobbying authority in the last year.
Jun 29th 2016, 6:20 AM 14,359 21

Congress Violent Extremism Source: AP/Press Association Images

BONO, AKA PAUL Hewson, made a return to the Irish Register of Lobbying in the last year, and it seems his words didn’t fall on deaf ears.

The information is contained in the Register’s online database. Yesterday saw the launch of the Register’s first annual report regarding the extent and nature of Irish lobbyists’ attempts to influence public policy decisions.

The lobbying regulator was set up on foot of the Regulation of Lobbying act being signed into law in March 2015.

Under that legislation, anyone lobbying a Designated Public Official (DPO) has to register as an official lobbyist. Thereafter, even if the body or person in question has done no lobbying, they still must file a return.

In Bono’s case, his lobbying involved appealing to Alan Kelly (then environment minister) via a DPO named Martin Mackin with regard to the promotion of a world-class film studio to be based in Dublin and “to foster synergies between the film/creative sector and the tech sector”.

This took the form of “an informal phone call” to the minister some time in the first four months of the year.

Plans regarding the film studios in question, which would be expected to employ nearly 3,000 people, are reportedly at an advanced stage.

Bono’s lobbying action is contained in the Regulator’s database, though it is not one of the over 2,500 returns for 2015 filed before the deadline of 21 January this year.

regulator Source: Irish Lobbying Regulator

Click here to view a larger image

Regarding the Regulator’s first official report, chairman of the Standards in Public Office (SIPO) commission Daniel O’Keeffe said: “The results we have seen to date are a very positive indicator that there is an acceptance of the need for openness and transparency in lobbying.”

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Of the various sectors lobbied, health (541 returns), justice and equality (291), and agriculture (266) were the most frequently reported upon.

Dáil Éireann was the most frequently lobbied state body, with three times as many returns (1,167) as the next nearest public agency (the Seanad).

Similarly, the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC – 190 returns) and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA – 182 returns) dwarfed the organisation with the next highest number of returns – the Construction Industry Federation (CIF – 63 returns).

Other high profile bodies to lobby public figures include the Football Association of Ireland (42 returns), the Irish Refugee Council (29 returns), Focus Ireland (23 returns), and Transgender Equality Network Ireland (nine returns).

Irish Water’s parent company Ervia (the successor to Bord Gáis Energy) submitted 14 returns.

RTÉ submitted 11 returns last year, including one involving a meeting with former TD for Mayo Michelle Mulherin concerning the need for “licence fee reform”.

Read: Charity regulator ‘should have been in Console’s offices long ago’

Read: Fianna Fáil TD apologises for asking how many Muslims have applied for Irish citizenship

Send a tip to the author

Cianan Brennan


    Back to top