Minister McGrath Publishes General Scheme to Amend Ireland’s Lobbying Legislation

Published on: 17 February 2022

 New penalties for those failing to comply with 12 month cooling off period

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath T.D., today published the General Scheme of the  Regulation of Lobbying (Amendment) Bill 2022 following approval by Government earlier this week.

The purpose of this Bill is to:

  • extend the definition of lobbying to ensure that business representative bodies and coalitions of business interests, regardless of the number of employees, are brought within the scope of the Act;
  • improve the functionality of the Lobbying Register by providing flexibility for new registrants to use the address of where their main activities are conducted; and
  • strengthen the existing legislation and its enforcement, including an anti-avoidance clause and the introduction of a fine of up to €25,000 and/or a prohibition from lobbying for up to 2 years for those found to be non-compliant with the Section 22 12 month post-employment cooling off period.

Lobbying is a vital component in maintaining a healthy and well-functioning democracy. However, transparency around lobbying is essential in order to enable citizens to follow the activities and potential influence of interest groups, representative bodies and industry and civil society organisations on policy and funding discussions and decisions. Communication between the political systems, public service and all sectors of society, and transparency around this communication, is and continues to be supported and strengthened by Ireland’s legal framework on regulating lobbying activities. The amendments set out in the General Scheme aim to further strengthen Ireland’s lobbying laws, incorporating the learnings of the last six years.


Speaking on the occasion of the publication of the General Scheme, the Minister said:

 “It is my view that the critical drivers of trust are transparency, citizen participation and collaboration with stakeholders. The Lobbying Register has from its inception as a policy proposal, proved to be an outstanding example of best practice in using these drivers to best advantage.  

"The extent of lobbying activity is a good measure of engaged citizenry, but it should be open to public scrutiny as part of the desirable checks and balances in a democracy. Currently, almost 2,300 organisations or individuals have registered their lobbying activity and over 63,300 returns are available to view on the Register.

"The legislative proposals detailed in the General Scheme will help to strengthen our regulation of lobbying regime even further and ensure it continues to deliver on the objectives we have set for it.”