Ireland’s first register of lobbying launched

 New registration system goes live today and becomes a legal requirement in September

April 30 2015:

The Standards in Public Office Commission has today launched the register of lobbying activity www.lobbying.ie. The Register will identify to the public who is communicating with Government and senior civil and public servants on public policy matters.

The register is being established under the recently enacted Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. It will provide a simple, web based register of lobbying activity giving transparency on ‘who is contacting whom about what’.

Those who may need to register lobbying activity can now begin to use the website.  They will be obliged by law to register lobbying activity that takes place from September 1st next. They must make returns of lobbying activity every four months, with the first returns being due by January 21st 2016.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Mr Brendan Howlin, who guided the legislation through the Oireachtas, said: “The Regulation of Lobbying Act will bring about significant improvements in the policy-making process in Ireland ensuring open communication and transparency.  Ultimately, the process of policy-development will be enhanced.”

Speaking at the launch, Chairman of the Standards Commission, Mr Justice Daniel O’Keeffe said: “This is a welcome development in public policy in Ireland.  Active lobbying is an essential component to a well-functioning democracy.  It is vital, however, that it be open and transparent.  Registration will not become a legal requirement until September.  We encourage all those engaged in lobbying to sign-up online over the coming weeks to familiarise themselves with the system.”

The newly appointed Head of Lobbying Regulation Ms Sherry Perreault said: “This is an important development and I am very much looking forward to playing a role in its implementation.  It will add a new level of transparency to the process of policy development and political decision-making.”

Under the Act, people engaged in lobbying must make returns three times a year detailing relevant communications made to Government or senior civil and public servants.  These are then published on the online register which is open to public view.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Aidan Moore, Standards Commission 01-6395711 or 087 9175186

Standards in Public Office Commission

18 Lower Leeson Street

Dublin 2

Tel: 01 639 5722

E-mail: info@lobbying.ie

Website: www.lobbying.ie

Twitter: @LobbyingIE

 Note to Editors:

The Standards in Public Office Commission

The Standards Commission is the independent body charged with oversight of the Ethics, Electoral and Lobbying legislation. The members of the Standards Commission are:
Mr Justice Daniel O’Keeffe, Chairperson;
Mr Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General;
Mr Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman;
Mr Peter Finnegan, Clerk Assistant of Dáil Éireann;
Ms Deirdre Lane, Clerk of Seanad Éireann; and
Mr Jim O’Keeffe, former Minister and TD.

The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015

The Registration of Lobbying Act 2015 was signed by President Michael D Higgins on 11 March 2015. The purpose of this Act is to establish a web based register of lobbying activity and deliver appropriate transparency on “who is contacting whom about what”. It is intended that commencement of the Act will be in September 2015.

The key objective in introducing a register of lobbying is to make information available to the public on the identity of those who are communicating with Government and senior civil and public servants on public policy matters.  The Act establishes a web based registration system of lobbying activity which will tell us “Who is lobbying whom about what?”

Therefore, when a lobbyist communicates with one of the lobbied about a relevant matter, they must register on the lobbying register.  Once registered, the lobbyist will have to make a return of their lobbying activities 3 times a year (at the end of April, August and December).

Biographical information on new Head of Lobbying Regulation, Ms Sherry Perreault

Sherry Perreault has been with Canada’s Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner since 2009, and in her current post as Director, Policy, Research and Communications since 2011.  She has significant public sector experience at the federal level, specializing in policy development and analysis, communications and Parliamentary relations.

In her current role, Ms. Perreault manages a multi-disciplinary team and directs strategic policy and research, public and media relations, Parliamentary affairs, performance measurement and planning, and domestic and international outreach on behalf of the Office.  During her time with the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, a branch of the Parliament of Canada, Ms. Perreault has contributed to a number of key files, including the Parliamentary reviews of the Conflict of Interest Act and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.

Highlights of her previous experience include serving as Executive Advisor to the Commissioner within the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, as well as posts at the Department of Canadian Heritage, Industry Canada, the Privy Council Office and Transport Canada. She began her career in the private sector, working in client relations and marketing, prior to joining the federal public service in 1999.

Ms. Perreault holds a Master of Arts degree in political science from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree, also in political science, from the University of Manitoba.

She has been appointed Head of Lobbying Regulation with Ireland’s Standards in Public Office Commission, and takes up her position on May 25, 2015.