Harry McGee on political lobbyists and lobbying

Harry McGee has a good piece in this morning’s Irish Times on politcal lobbying and lobbyists, an oft ignored subject in this country.

One quick note on the second to last paragraph:

Since the mid-1990s, stricter ethical requirements have been introduced for those who are lobbied (ie politicians) who now must furnish statements of donations, make declarations of interests and adhere to codes of conduct for office holders.

The ethical standards in this area are still very, very lax.

The “details” of donations made to TDs over 2009 were published last week, just 20 TDs declared they received a donation over the (too high declaration limit) so we know bugger all about how people funded their work. This issue was covered in the first post on this blog. Political parties don’t have to publish accounts. The donations system is easily bypassed, legally (!). SIPO doesn’t have the right powers to investigate off its own back, and is hugely underfunded and understaffed.

Messy stuff in dire need of reform. Fix that and get a lobbyists’ register going, now please.

Footnote: A voluntary one? Fianna Fáil you are winding us up, right?

One thought on “Harry McGee on political lobbyists and lobbying”

  1. That lobbying piece was the only reason I bought the Times this morn…would have loved a deeper and broader exploration. Viz the acknowledgements to SIPO, that’s only in respect of financial donations. One could be an ex parliamentarian working for a private limited company or partnership and more effect to party policy on grounds other than financial. Lest one forget from the lobbyist’s perspective it is influence that is the ultimately objective, not making the largest donation. For an individual parliamentarian, not in the two chambers, but in committee stage, the paramount is credible information that they require; party finances are the burden of others. Thus, we have the likes of Glennon, O’Donnell et al. on the private side of politics.

    Love it! Would Love It! Bring it On !

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