Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Standards in Public Office Commission
147. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the recommendations made by SIPO during the review of the lobbying laws as referenced in an article in a newspaper on 26 February 2020 (details supplied); the reason for refusal in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3217/20]
In accordance with section 2 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 (the Act), I launched the second statutory review of the Act on 12 April 2019 by means of a press release. On the same day, my Department launched a public consultation process, inviting submissions from interested parties by 10 May 2019. A copy of the public consultation paper is available at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/consultation/652934-second-review-of-the-regulation-of-lobbying-act-2015/.
The response to this consultation was positive with 27 submissions received. Those making submissions included the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO), Government Departments, representative bodies, interest groups, and various bodies and individuals engaged in lobbying. A table providing details of the submissions received, along with the content of each individual submission, including SIPOs submission, is available to view at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/consultation/652934-second-review-of-the-regulation-of-lobbying-act-2015/.
The issues raised and suggestions for improvements in the submissions received were categorised into nine key thematic areas and the second statutory review was structured around these themes.
I enclose at APPENDIX 1 a table outlining the recommendations made by SIPO in its submission and the responses provided to each SIPO recommendation in the second statutory review report. The report itself is available at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/publication/7ef279-second-statutory-review-of-the-regulation-of-lobbying-act-2015/.
All of the issues raised and the suggestions made in each of the 27 submissions received were examined and considered by my Department. The issues raised mainly concerned implementation and procedural matters. The review found that where issues highlighted had not already been dealt with, they could be effectively managed and resolved on an administrative basis by SIPO. The review includes a number of recommended further actions for SIPO to consider, along with two recommendations for my Department.
Overall, there was widespread acceptance of and support for the legislation in the submissions received. I am satisfied that now is not the time to consider amending this legislation and I agree with my Department's assertion that the amendment of any legislation should only be considered where a compelling business case for change is clear and unequivocal. The third statutory review of the Act must commence by 1 September 2022.