Ethics boss believes Kildare lobbying is under-reported

Kildare has 4.7% of population but only 3.6% of lobbyists

Conor McHugh

Reporter:

Conor McHugh

Email:

conor@leinsterleader.ie

Ethics boss believes Kildare lobbying is under-reported

Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation, Sherry Perreault

It is believed that lobbying in Kildare is being under-reported.

The Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation, Sherry Perreault, has pointed out that with 4.7% of the population, Kildare should have more than 3.6% of the lobbyists.

There are 57 Kildare lobbyists registered on lobby.ie, which was established as part of the the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 which is intended to provide information to the public about who is lobbying whom about what. Any person or organisation which is in contact with a politician or official at national, local or council level in order to discuss an area of concern to them, must register as a lobbyist.

According to Ms Perreault:  “More than 60% of registrants (associated with lobbying in Kildare) are based in Dublin which is not surprising.

“Dublin is where many public officials are based, and is the headquarters of many organisations who are lobbying them.

“Yet bearing in mind that the Act covers lobbying about local authority matters including planning as well as national matters, it is surprising to see such low numbers of registrants in counties outside Dublin.

“It is hard to imagine that in two years, only a handful of people and businesses have lobbied their local councillor or TD, or communicated with a Minister or senior official.”

“Thirteen counties have less than 20 lobbyists registered in the two years the Act has been in force. Of those, five counties have registrant numbers in single digits, and one – Leitrim – has none at all.

For a communication to count as lobbying it must meet all three of the following criteria: the communication must be made by a person within scope of the Act, it must be made to a designated public official, and it must concern a “relevant matter” – the development, initiation or modification of policy, program or legislation, seeking funding, or – most broadly – the zoning and development of land.

The next deadline for registering lobbying activity is September 21, and any lobbying done between May 1 and August 31 must be registered by then.

Read more: 45 Kildare-based lobbying organisations registered