Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015

19.

Power to carry out investigation

19. (1) If the Commission reasonably believes that a person may have committed or may be committing a relevant contravention, the Commission may authorise the carrying out of an investigation under this section.

(2) The Commission may appoint such and so many persons as it may determine (referred to in this section as “authorised officers”) to carry out investigations under this section.

(3) The Commission shall furnish an authorised officer with an authorisation and, when carrying out an investigation under this section, an authorised officer shall, if requested to do so by any person affected by the investigation, produce to the person the authorisation or a copy of it together with a form of personal identification.

(4) An authorised officer may, for the purposes of carrying out an investigation under this section—

(a) require any person to provide any information or explanation which the authorised officer may reasonably require for the purposes of the investigation,

(b) require any person to produce any document or other thing of which the person has control, or to which the person has access, and which the authorised officer may reasonably require for the purposes of the investigation,

(c) require any person to attend before the authorised officer to answer questions, and to make a declaration of the truth of the answers to the questions, for the purposes of the investigation,

(d) (subject to subsection (5)) enter and search (if necessary accompanied by a member of the Garda Síochána) any premises at, on or in which the authorised officer reasonably believes there may be any document or other thing which the authorised officer may reasonably require for the purposes of the investigation,

(e) inspect and take copies of, or extracts from, any document or other thing produced in compliance with a requirement under paragraph (b) or found on a search under paragraph (d) or pursuant to a warrant under subsection (6),

(f) require a person to make available in a legible form any documents so produced or found otherwise than in a legible form, or

(g) require a person to give to the authorised officer such assistance as the authorised officer may reasonably require for the purposes of the investigation and make available to the authorised officer such reasonable facilities as are necessary for the authorised officer to exercise his or her powers.

(5) An authorised officer shall not enter a dwelling when carrying out an investigation under this section otherwise than—

(a) with the consent of the occupier, or

(b) pursuant to a warrant under subsection (6).

(6) If a judge of the District Court is satisfied on the sworn information of an authorised officer that there are reasonable grounds for believing that there is in, on or at any premises any document or other thing which the authorised officer may reasonably require for the purposes of an investigation under this section, the judge may issue a warrant authorising a named person at any time or times within one month from the date of issue of the warrant, on production (if so requested) of the warrant, to enter and search the premises using reasonable force where necessary, and exercise all or any of the powers conferred on an authorised officer.

(7) A warrant under subsection (6) may permit the person authorised by it to be accompanied by such members of the Garda Síochána or other persons as that person considers necessary.

(8) An authorised officer may, if authorised by the Commission to do so, make interim reports to the Commission while carrying out an investigation under this section.

(9) As soon as reasonably practicable after the conclusion of an investigation under this section the authorised officer by whom the investigation was carried out shall give to—

(a) the Commission, and

(b) the person under investigation,

a copy of a report stating the findings of the investigation and the authorised officer’s conclusions on the findings together with his or her reasons for making them.

(10) A statement or admission made by a person pursuant to a requirement under subsection (4) shall not be admissible in evidence in proceedings brought against that person for an offence (other than for an offence under section 20 ).

(11) The production of a document or other thing in compliance with a requirement under subsection (4) does not prejudice a person’s lien on the document or other thing.

(12) Nothing in this section shall operate to require a person to provide to an authorised officer any information or explanation, or to produce to an authorised officer any documents or other things, that he or she would be entitled to refuse to provide or produce on the grounds of legal professional privilege.

(13) An authorised officer shall not disclose any information obtained under this section otherwise than in a report under this section.

(14) In this section “premises” includes vessel, aircraft, vehicle and any other means of transport, as well as land and any other fixed or moveable structure.