Call for quicker lobbyists legislation


THE GOVERNMENT has been accused of putting promised legislation for a register of lobbyists “on the long finger”, despite pledges months ago to introduce a Bill.

Thomas Pringle (Ind) said Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin was supposed to be working on the legislation and had promised on March 13th to introduce a White Paper “within weeks, with legislation to follow”.

The Donegal South West TD said a mandatory register of lobbyists was needed. “It is not complex legislation and it should not be difficult to compile.”

It appeared the Government “is afraid that once that Pandora’s box is opened, joining the dots may be an easy exercise and the protected list of vested interests could prove a riveting read”.

The Government pledged when it came into office 16 months ago that register would be put in place, “yet we have seen the reports of the Moriarty and Mahon tribunals and the damage lobbyists for vested interests have done to this State in the past.”

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore insisted that the Government was committed to such legislation and said “the public is entitled to know who is lobbying on behalf of vested interests of whatever kind and who is talking to Government and Government agencies”.

The Mahon and Moriarty tribunals had shown “what happens when we have an unregulated lobbying regime”.

He rejected Mr Pringle’s claim that Labour “has gone over to the dark side”. Mr Gilmore insisted: “There is no delay whatever in bringing forward the legislation on the regulation of lobbyists.”

The heads of the Bill were expected by the end of the summer and formal drafting would begin following Cabinet approval.