An inquiry by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) found a former Fine Gael minister should have notified them he planned to immediately take up a lucrative role with an organisation representing investment funds after resigning as a Senator.
However, the Standards Commission were powerless to act and had such weak powers they could not even compel Michael D’Arcy to correspond with them because of a “lacuna” in lobbying legislation.
Internal records also reveal how SIPO had repeatedly flagged their lack of enforcement powers with the Department of Public Expenditure but that nothing had been done to strengthen the law.
Former Fine Gael Minister Michael D’Arcy had stepped down as a Senator last September to take up a role as chief executive of the Irish Association of Investment Managers.
Two TDs – Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and Deputy Paul Murphy – made complaints to the Standards Commission about the move and why a one-year cooling-off period had not applied for the job change.
However, documents describe how SIPO’s hands were tied in what they could do despite believing Mr D’Arcy should have notified them about the post.
In a letter to him last November, they wrote: “On the basis of the information available to it, the Commission is of the view that your obligations under Section 22 of the Act were engaged in taking up such a position, given the nature of the organisation and its registration on the Register of Lobbying, and that the consent of the Commission should have been sought.
“The Commission has formed no view as to whether consent would have been granted, with or without conditions.”
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