This week, the Dáil debates a Bill brought forward by Sinn Féin that seeks to bring enhanced accountability and transparency to political lobbying.
The Regulation of Lobbying Bill 2020 implements thirteen recommendations of the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) to ‘enhance transparency and accountability’ by extending the cooling-off period for Ministers, Junior Ministers and Special Advisors who move from public office to a lobbying role from one year to two years. It will also give SIPO the powers to investigate, enforce and sanction breaches of this cooling-off period.
Speaking on this Bill, Wexford TD Deputy Mythen said:
“Any Bill that improves the accountability of Government and protects the public interests must be welcomed.
“The current position of revolving doors and free hall passes which allows ministers and other senior officials to move with ease between lobbyists and public office while at the same time gaining valuable inside information must be addressed.”
“This is about who’s voice is heard in the corridors of power. Is it the voices of ordinary people or is it that of vested interests and corporate lobbyists? ”
“Right now, bankers, the insurance industry and other vested interests have too much influence on public policy. That’s why the government is not taking on the banks, that’s why they are not taking on the vulture funds or that’s why they are not taking on the insurance industry.”
“I believe this bill will have a positive outcome for democracy and transparency, and would prevent the possibility of Government and advisor’s, or government officials from seeking out lobbyists who can provide a position to justify their pre-chosen actions to benefit themselves or their vested interests.”
“I would expect that all sides of the house support this lobbying amendment bill in the interest of the public who we serve.”