Donegal Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has accused the Government of ‘kicking the can down the road’ after delaying his party’s Regulation of Lobbying Bill.
The Bill is due to be revisited again in nine months’ time, but Doherty has criticised the delay as a move “which will delight the Old Boys Club, high finance and those wanting to maintain the current cozy status quo.”
The Regulation of Lobbying Bill was brought forward by Sinn Féin spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Mairéad Farrell TD and spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD and was debated in the Dáil last night. The Bill 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.
Teachta Doherty said: “This Bill would greatly improve the regulation, oversight and accountability of political lobbying in this State. I am very disappointed but not surprised by the Government’s response to this. Despite not one TD opposing this Bill, the Government has decided to delay its passing by nine months.”
“For too long Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have permitted the existence of a revolving door between politics and the lobbying industry, with their former Ministers benefiting most.
“Whilst this revolving door has helped many former Ministers to advance their self-interests, it has been corrosive to the interests of the public. From last night’s debate, it looks like the Government isn’t serious about closing that revolving door but wants to kick the can down the road.”
“This issue is real and it has presented itself in recent times where we have witnessed former Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes go to work as chief lobbyist for the banking industry. We have also seen former Junior Finance Minister Michael D’Arcy join the Irish Association of Investment Managers and we have seen the leaking of a confidential document by Leo Varadkar to the NAGP.”
“I believe these practices are corrosive to democracy as they undermine ordinary people’s expectations and belief that our political system is responsive to their needs, rather than the needs of well-heeled unelected special interest groups. So I believe that this is an urgent and necessary piece of legislation.”
“For too long in this country there has been a serious lack of accountability when it comes to political lobbying. It looks like this suits Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to maintain the current cozy status quo which I have no doubt will be to the delight of the Old Boys Club and their friends in high finance.”Tags: