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Fianna Fáil publishes bill to regulate lobbyist industry

The party says a lobbyists’ register must be brought into effect before the State considers selling off its major assets.

Image: buddawiggi via Flickr

FIANNA FÁIL has published a bill regulating the Irish lobbying industry – insisting that such a move is vital before the government proceeds with plans to sell off the State assets.

The bill, published this afternoon, provides a formal definition of lobbying and would establish a mandatory, publicly available register of lobbyists. It would also provide for a register of returns which would declare who has been lobbied, and by whom.

The proposals also include the creation of a new unit within the Standards in Public Office Commission which would be committed to overseeing the lobbying industry – seemingly to avoid the need for a new quango – and given powers to create and enforce compliance.

In parallel with the proposals, Fianna Fáil has also called on the government to engage with the EU for the creation of a mandatory lobbyists’ register throughout the EU.

The party’s environment spokesman Niall Collins, who tabled the bill, said the government needed to “ensure greater openness and transparency to the practice of lobbying”, particularly given how the Moriarty Tribunal – which is expected to publish its final report shortly – had highlighted the need for reform in that area.

“If this Government is determined to sell off valuable state assets, the ultimate owners of those assets, the Irish people, should be able to have full confidence in how the sales are being managed,” Collins said.

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“This is not a party political issue – if the Government parties take forward this Bill it will be to the benefit of all parties and our entire political system.”

The Bill is likely to be debated in the Dáil later in the spring.

Read: The full text of Fianna Fáil’s Lobbyists Bill, 2012 (PDF) >

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Gavan Reilly

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