Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD and spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Mairéad Farrell TD have today published legislation to reform lobbying law, which will give the Standards in Public Office Commission powers to investigate and sanction public officials who flout Section 22 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act.
The Regulation of Lobbying (Amendment) Bill 2020 will also extend the period in which former ministers cannot carry out lobbying activities from one to two years, and give SIPO the power to conduct inquiries into and report on breaches of the Code of Conduct for persons carrying on lobbying activities.
Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:
“Today myself and Deputy Farrell have submitted legislation to the Bills Office that will close the revolving door between Government and big business, between Fine Gael and high finance.
“The Regulation of Lobbying (Amendment) Bill 2020 will implement recommendations that SIPO made to Leo Varadkar’s Government in 2016 and again in 2019. On every occasion the Government ignored these recommendations, keeping open loopholes that allowed former Minister Michael D’Arcy to become CEO of a financial lobby group only three months after being a Minister in the Department of Finance.
“The IAIM, a registered lobby group, lobbied Michael D’Arcy while he was minister regarding generous tax breaks worth millions of euros for multinational executives – tax breaks Fine Gael have passed in successive budgets despite Sinn Féin opposition.
“Fine Gael are determined to keep the door between Government and high finance open.
“Sinn Féin will introduce this legislation at the earliest opportunity.”
Speaking today, Teachta Farrell said:
“The appointment of Michael D’Arcy to the Irish Association of Investment Managers is a wake-up call.
“This appointment, whilst certainly shocking in itself, is only outmatched by the fact the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) did not even have the appropriate sanctioning powers in this case to ensure the ‘cooling off’ period was adhered to.’
“We cannot continue to allow such a revolving door system here, which allows legislators and regulators alike, those holding insider information and access to key decision makers within government departments, to transfer into important positions within the very industries they once sought to regulate and legislate for.
“As I’ve said before, it’s time for a new departure in ethical standards in this country. Make no mistake, this bill will help to shut the revolving door between politics and big corporate interests. It will also help to stop the kind of influence peddling which Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are determined to allow, but which is so corrosive to the public interest.”
The legislation is available to view by clicking here: Regulation of Lobbying Bill