In accordance with section 12 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015, if you are carrying on lobbying activities, you must register and submit a return of lobbying activities within 21 days of the end of the first relevant period in which you lobby.
Once you register, you are obliged to submit returns at the end of every relevant period.
Subsection 12(3) of the Act further clarifies that “If the registered person has not carried on any lobbying activities in the period covered by the return, the return shall state that fact”.
Therefore, if you are registered and have not carried on any lobbying activities in the most recent returns period, you are still obliged to submit a “nil return”. For more information on how to make a nil return, see below.
Consequences of non-compliance
The enforcement provisions contained in Part 4 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act will commence on 1 January 2017. From that date the following consequences will be in place.
Failure to submit a return, including a nil return, by the relevant deadline is a contravention of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. Such contraventions may be prosecuted under section 20(2) of the Act and liable on summary conviction to a class C fine (maximum €2,500).*
A late return (including a late "nil" return) may result in the registrant receiving a fixed payment notice in the amount of €200. If the fixed payment is paid by the date specified on it, a prosecution in relation to the offence will not be initiated.
If you are registered it is very important, therefore, that you submit your return of lobbying activity (whether a nil return or otherwise) by the relevant deadline.
If you have any questions about the requirements of the Act, you are encouraged to review the Guidelines for persons carrying on lobbying activities. If you are still unsure, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FURTHER INFORMATION: How to make a nil return
Making a nil return is simple. Once you log in to your dashboard at www.lobbying.ie/login, look on the middle of the screen for the button marked “Submit a Nil Return”.
Please note that if you have ceased lobbying you can contact the Lobbying Regulation Unit to request your registration be marked as ceased lobbying.