Lobbying is an essential part of the democratic process. Organisations such as interest groups, representative bodies, industry, NGOs, charities and third party professional lobbyists all provide necessary input and feedback through communication of their views and concerns to government. This interaction is a welcome and necessary element of policy development. Public bodies, public officials, TDs, Senators, MEPs and other elected officials should continue to actively facilitate and encourage such communications to the greatest extent possible.
The Act does not aim to prevent or inhibit lobbying activity. Its objective is to make the process more transparent while supporting the interaction of public bodies, public officials and elected officials with all stakeholder organisations. It is important that registering on the lobbying website or engaging in lobbying activity should not have, or be perceived to have, any negative impact on a person’s application for or consideration of any ‘relevant matter’. There may, of course, already be rules in place in relation to certain matters where lobbying is inappropriate and may disqualify one for consideration. In those instances, the Act does not change the current arrangements but does throw light on those communications, if they constitute ‘relevant matters’ as defined in the Act.