Cooling – off period: Restrictions on post-term employment as lobbyist

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 unless they get permission from the Standards Commission – in effect, they are subject to a “cooling-off” period.


The Designated Public Officials concerned are Ministers and Ministers of State, special advisers and prescribed public servants. We refer to these persons as “former Designated Public Officials” in this section of the guidelines.


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


The former Designated Public Officials who are covered by this provision may not

  • Carry on lobbying activities or
  • Be employed by, or provide services to, a person carrying on lobbying activities in certain circumstances.


These circumstances are where the lobbying activity

  • Involves any public service body with which the former Designated Public Official was connected, that is, employed or held an office or other position in the year prior to the former Designated Public Official’s leaving, or
  • Is to a person who was also a Designated Public Official connected with that public service body in the year prior to the former Designated Public Official’s leaving.


A former Designated Public Official may apply to the Standards Commission for consent to engage in such lobbying. The Standards Commission may decide to give consent unconditionally or give consent with conditions attached or refuse the application for all or part of the period.


A former Designated Public Official who is unhappy with the decision may appeal.