Enforcement

Part 4 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 sets out “relevant” contraventions of the Act and enforcement provisions.  The enforcement provisions came into effect on 1 January 2017. 

 

Relevant contraventions

Section 18 of the Act sets out the following as "relevant contraventions" of the Act:

  • Carrying on lobbying activities without being registered;
  • Failing to make a return by the deadline;
  • Providing the Standards Commission with any information known to be inaccurate or misleading;
  • Failing to co-operate with an investigating officer who is investigating contraventions of the Act; and
  • Obstructing an investigation.

 

Enforcement provisions

The provisions contained in Part 4 give the Standards Commission the authority to:

 

  • investigate possible relevant contraventions (Section 19).
  • prosecute offences (Section 20).
  • serve fixed payment notices to persons who are late submitting a return of lobbying activities (Section 21).

 

Investigations

The Standards Commission may authorise an investigation if it reasonably believes that a person may have committed or may be committing a relevant contravention.

 

Authorised officers may be appointed to carry out the investigation. They will have extensive powers to obtain necessary information and documents including the power to enter and search premises.

 

As a result of an investigation, the Standards Commission may prosecute offences.

 

Prosecutions and Fines

Any relevant contravention listed above may be prosecuted by the Standards Commission

  • If you are prosecuted in the District Court and found guilty (summary conviction), you may be fined up to €2,500 (this is known as a Class C fine).
  • If you are prosecuted in the Circuit Criminal Court and found guilty (conviction on indictment), you may be fined and imprisoned for up to two years.

Submitting a late return (that is making a return after the prescribed deadline) is a relevant contravention, which will result in a fixed payment notice being issued. The amount of the fixed payment is €200. If you pay the fixed payment within the time specified, no further action will be taken. Failure to pay the fixed payment may result in prosecution.