Cooling-off Period

The Act provides that certain Designated Public Officials are restricted from being engaged in lobbying in certain circumstances for a year after they leave their employment or office. In effect, they are subject to a “cooling-off” period in respect of involvement in particular lobbying activities.

The Designated Public Officials concerned are Ministers and Ministers of State, special advisers to Ministers and Ministers of State and prescribed public servants (Section 22 (2)).

Others who are Designated Public Officials for the purposes of the lobbying registration requirements are not covered by this provision, that is, TDs and Senators (who are not Ministers or Ministers of State), MEPs and local authority members.

Designated Public Officials subject to this provision may apply to the Standards Commission for consent to waive these restrictions for all or part of the relevant period. The Commission may consent, may impose certain conditions, or may refuse consent. A public official who is unhappy with the decision may appeal the decision of the Standards Commission to an independent Appeal Officer.