Register of Lobbying

The Standards in Public Office Commission (the Standards Commission) is responsible for establishing and maintaining the Register of Lobbying at www.lobbying.ie. This register is available online to members of the public and is free of charge.

 

The Register of Lobbying contains:

  • The registration details provided by each registered person to the Standards Commission and
  • The information contained in the returns made by each registered person.

 

Requirement to register

You are prohibited from carrying on lobbying activities unless you are registered on the Register of Lobbying. This does not apply to the first relevant period during which you carry out lobbying activities – you can register after you have commenced lobbying.

 

Once you are obliged to be registered, it is a relevant contravention of the Act to carry on lobbying activities without being registered.

 

There is no fee involved in registering.

IMPORTANT: You must register within 21 days (relevant date) of the end of the relevant period in which you first start lobbying activities. The relevant period is the four months ending on the last day of April, August and December each year.

 

If you start lobbying activities between

1 January and 30 April, you must register by 21 May

1 May and 31 August, you must register by 21 September

1 September and 31 December, you must register by 21 January.

 

It is a contravention of the Act to carry on lobbying activities without being registered.

 

 

 

Content which may be excluded from the Register

Personal data

Personal data may be excluded from the information which is publicly available. This will happen if the Standards Commission considers it necessary to exclude it in order:

  • To prevent it being misused or
  • To protect the safety of any person or
  • To protect the security of the State.

 

Personal data is defined in the data protection legislation as data relating to a living individual who is or can be identified either from the data or from the data in conjunction with other information. For more information, see www.dataprotection.ie.

 

Inaccurate, out of date or misleading information

If you consider that there is information about you on the Register which is inaccurate, out of date or misleading, you may provide evidence of this to the Standards Commission (you could be a person carrying on lobbying activities, a person being lobbied or a client of a professional lobbyist).

 

If the Standards Commission considers that the information is inaccurate, out of date or misleading, it may amend or delete the information as appropriate. If it does not consider the information to be inaccurate, misleading or out of date, it must notify you of this and give you reasons for its decision.

 

If you are unhappy with the Standards Commission decision in relation to amending or deleting the information, you may appeal.

 

Information which must be provided when registering

In order to be registered, you must supply the Standards Commission with the following information:

  • The name of your organisation (if lobbying as an individual about zoning and development, your own name)
  • The address (or principal address) at which you carry on business or (if there is no such address) the address at which you normally live
  • Your business or main day to day activities of your organisation
  • Any e-mail address, telephone number or website address relating to your business or main activities
  • Any registration number issued to you by the Companies Registration Office, and if a company, your registered office.

 

(You do not have to be a company. The legislation applies equally to sole traders, partnerships, representative bodies, advocacy bodies and companies. The legal structure is not relevant. Individual citizens may be required to register if they are carrying on lobbying activities in relation to the development and zoning of land.)

{The contact information provided should be that which relates to the organisation registering. If you are registering on behalf of your business, provide your business contact details rather than your personal details}.

 

You must state that the information contained in your registration details is correct.

 

When you provide this information and the statement, you become a registered person and the information you have provided will be immediately available on the Register.

 

If you permanently cease carrying on lobbying activities you may ask the Standards Commission to note that fact in your entry on the Register.

 

Requirement to make returns

As a registered person, you are required to make returns to the Standards Commission within 21 days of the end of each relevant period. The relevant period is the four months, ending on the last day of April, August and December each year. It is a contravention of the Act to fail to make such returns.

 

If you have not carried out any lobbying activities in the relevant period, your return must state that: in effect, you must make a nil return.

 

The requirement to make returns does not apply to you if your entry on the Register notes that you have permanently ceased carrying out lobbying activities.

 

Information in your returns

If you have carried on lobbying activities in the relevant period, your return must state:

  • The Designated Public Officials who were lobbied and the relevant public service body
  • The subject matter of the lobbying and the results it was intended to secure. It is important that the intended result be meaningful – what was it you were seeking to achieve from the lobbying activity? If it is “raising awareness” – to what end? (for example, you were lobbying on the issue of accident and emergency services services and you were aiming to have such services provided in a particular hospital)
  • The type and extent of the lobbying activities carried on; the return form on www.lobbying.iewill provide “drop down” options to assist you in identifying the type and extent of activity appropriate to your return
  • The name of the individual in your organisation who had primary responsibility for carrying on the lobbying activities. Others within your organisation may be involved in lobbying but the person listed here should be the one who is primarily responsible.
  • The relevant information about your client (s) where you were lobbying on behalf of another person or other people
  • The name of each person who is or ever has been (whether before or after the passing of the Act) a Designated Public Official and who is employed by, or providing services to you and who was engaged in carrying on the lobbying activities for which the return is being made (for example, if you are employing a former TD, special advisor or senior public servant or you have a contract for services with such a person)
  • Any change which occurred in the relevant period in respect of the information supplied by you for the purposes of registration.
  • That the information contained in the return is correct.

 

Relevant information about a client

If you are lobbying on behalf of a client, you must register and submit a return of the lobbying activities carried out on behalf of the client. If the client engages in additional or separate lobbying activities, the client must also register and submit a return in respect of the additional or separate lobbying activities.

 

You must also provide the following information about a client:

  • The client’s name
  • The address (or principal address) at which the client carries on business or (if there is no such address) the address at which the client normally lives
  • The client’s business or main activities,
  • Any e-mail address, telephone number or website address relating to the client’s business or main activities,
  • Any registration number issued to the client by the Companies Registration Office, and if a company, the registered office.

 

Requirement for further or corrected information

The Standards Commission may ask for further information in relation to an application to register as a lobbyist and/or a return of lobbying activity made if it considers that:

  • Further information is required to ensure that the application or return complies with the legislation or
  • The information provided in the application or returns is inaccurate or misleading

 

You will be given 21 days in which to provide the necessary further or corrected information.

If you fail to do so, the Standards Commission will remove from the Register the information provided in your registration or your return. You will be told the reason for the removal of the information. If the information is removed you will be treated as not having registered or made a relevant return as the case may be.

 

If the Standards Commission considers that any information contained in your registration details or in a return is inaccurate or misleading, it may immediately remove that information from the Register. You will be regarded as not having registered or having made a relevant return as the case may be unless and until corrected information is provided.

 

Delayed publication

You may apply to the Standards Commission to delay the publication of certain information contained in your registration details or your returns. You may do this if you give information at registration or in a return and you consider that making it publicly available could reasonably be expected to:

  1. Have a serious adverse effect on the financial interests of the State, the national economy, or business interests generally or the business interests of any particular set of people or
  2. Cause a material financial loss to the person to whom the information relates or prejudice seriously the competitive position of that person in the conduct of the person’s occupation, profession or business or the outcome of any contractual or other negotiations being conducted by that person

 

In the case of paragraph A, the Standards Commission must consult with relevant Ministers before making its decision on your application. The decision must be made within 21 days.

 

If the Standards Commission considers that making the information publicly available could reasonably be expected to have the consequences you suggest, it may make a determination:

  • To exclude some or all of this information from immediate publication
  • To make some or all of it available only in summary form

 

It may make such a determination if it considers that the public interest would be better served by delaying making the information publicly available.

 

Such a determination may apply for a specified period of not more than six months or until it is revoked, whichever happens first.

 

While a determination is in force, the Freedom of Information Acts do not apply to a record relating to any information which is the subject of a determination.

 

If your application for delayed publication is rejected in whole or in part, the Standards Commission will give you reasons.

 

The Standards Commission will provide copies of the determination to you and to any Ministers who were consulted.

 

The Standards Commission may review its determination at any time and may decide to revoke it if it appears that the public interest would be better served by making the information publicly available immediately than by delaying it. If this occurs, you and the relevant Ministers will be informed.

 

If information is published in summary form, this will be stated on the Register.

 

When delayed publication has occurred or where information was published only in summary form and publication or full publication occurs, the Standards Commission will publish on the Register an explanation for why the publication was delayed or the information summarised.

 

Any person who is unhappy with any decision made by the Standards Commission in relation to delayed publication may appeal.

 

The Standards Commission will not make information which was delayed or summarised publicly available until 14 days after its decision to do so. This is to allow for the making of an appeal. If you appeal, publication will not occur until the appeal process is complete or the appeal is withdrawn.