Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins TD has today published his party’s Bill setting out a new regulatory regime to bring openness and transparency to the lobbying industry in Ireland.
Deputy Collins has said that regulation of Lobbyists should be introduced as soon as possible and should take place before the Government moves forward on its controversial privatisation programme.
The Deputy commented, “Fine Gael and the Labour Party have made it clear that despite there being no obligation to do so, they are going to press ahead with their plans to sell off semi-state companies and assets.
“In our view it is essential that before there is any movement in this area, the Government needs to introduce greater openness and transparency to the practice of lobbying. The Moriarty Tribunal report highlighted the need for a new approach to this area and the Bill being published by Fianna Fáil today is, we believe, a robust but manageable response to the issues that have arisen. If this Government is determined to sell off valuable state assets, the ultimate owners of those assets, the Irish people, should be able to have full confidence in how the sales are being managed.
“While free and open access for all stakeholders to Government is an integral part of the democratic process, well publicised abuses of this process have created genuine public concern and had the effect of fundamentally undermining confidence in the political system.
“Our Bill forms an integral part of our vision of real and meaningful political reform. It builds on international experience to create a system in Ireland where everyone has full access to the policy development process and every citizen can see who is trying to influence political decisions and on whose behalf.
“This is not a party political issue – if the Government parties take forward this Bill it will be to the benefit of all parties and our entire political system.”