Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015

5.

Meaning of carrying on lobbying activities

5. (1) For the purposes of this Act a person carries on lobbying activities if the person—

(a) makes, or manages or directs the making of, any relevant communications on behalf of another person in return for payment (in money or money’s worth) in any of the circumstances in which subsection (2) applies to that other person,

(b) makes, or manages or directs the making of, any relevant communications in any of the circumstances in which subsection (2) applies to the person, or

(c) makes any relevant communications about the development or zoning of land under the Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2014.

(2) The circumstances in which this subsection applies to a person are that—

(a) the person has more than 10 full-time employees and the relevant communications are made on the person’s behalf,

(b) the person has one or more full-time employees and is a body which exists primarily to represent the interests of its members and the relevant communications are made on behalf of any of the members, or

(c) the person has one or more full-time employees and is a body which exists primarily to take up particular issues and the relevant communications are made in the furtherance of any of those issues.

(3) For the purposes of the operation of subsection (1)(b) in relation to a body in circumstances in which paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection (2) applies to the body, the body “makes” a relevant communication only—

(a) where it is made by an employee of the body, or

(b) where it is made by a person who holds, in the body, any office—

(i) in respect of which remuneration is payable, and

(ii) the functions of which relate to the affairs of the body as a whole,

in his or her capacity as such.

(4) In subsection (1)“relevant communications” means communications (whether oral or written and however made), other than excepted communications, made personally (directly or indirectly) to a designated public official in relation to a relevant matter.

(5) The following are excepted communications:

(a) communications by or on behalf of an individual relating to his or her private affairs about any matter other than the development or zoning under the Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2014 of any land apart from the individual’s principal private residence;

(b) communications by or on behalf of a country or territory other than the State;

(c) communications by or on behalf of the European Union, the United Nations or any other international organisation;

(d) communications requesting factual information or providing factual information in response to a request for the information;

(e) communications requested by a public service body and published by it;

(f) communications forming part of, or directly related to, negotiations on terms and conditions of employment undertaken by representatives of a trade union on behalf of its members;

(g) communications the disclosure of which could pose a threat to the safety of any person;

(h) communications the disclosure of which could pose a threat to the security of the State;

(i) communications which are made in proceedings of a committee of either House of the Oireachtas;

(j) communications by a designated public official in his or her capacity as such;

(k) communications which—

(i) are made by a person who is employed by, or holds any office or other position in, a public service body in his or her capacity as such, or

(ii) are made by a person engaged for the purposes of a public service body in his or her capacity as such,

and which relate to the functions of the public service body;

(l) communications which—

(i) are made by a person who is employed by, or holds any office or other position in, a body which is not a public service body, but is a body by which a designated public official is employed or in which a designated public official holds any office or other position, in his or her capacity as such, or

(ii) are made by a person engaged for the purposes of such a body in his or her capacity as such,

and which relate to the functions of the body;

(m) communications by or on behalf of a body corporate made to a Minister of the Government who holds shares in, or has statutory functions in relation to, the body corporate, or to designated public officials serving in the Minister’s department, in the ordinary course of the business of the body corporate;

(n) communications between members of a relevant body appointed by a Minister of the Government, or by a public service body, for the purpose of reviewing, assessing or analysing any issue of public policy with a view to reporting to the Minister of the Government or public service body on it;

(o) any communications of a description prescribed under subsection (8).

(6) In subsection (5)(n)“relevant body” means a body—

(a) the members of which are appointed by a Minister of the Government or by a public service body and include one or more persons who are designated public officials and one or more persons who are neither public servants nor engaged for the purposes of a public service body, and

(b) which conducts its activities in accordance with the Transparency Code.

(7) The Minister shall prepare and publish a code, to be known as “the Transparency Code”, setting out how, having regard to the public interest in their doing so with an appropriate level of transparency, bodies meeting the condition in subsection (6)(a) are to conduct their activities if they are to constitute a relevant body for the purposes of subsection (5)(n).

(8) The Minister may prescribe descriptions of communications which are to be excepted communications; and in determining whether or not to prescribe any description of communications the Minister shall have regard to the public interest in there being an appropriate level of transparency in relation to communications about any relevant matter and (in particular) to any arrangements for opening up such communications to public scrutiny otherwise than in accordance with this Act.

(9) In this section—

“principal private residence” means a dwelling house or part of a dwelling house occupied by an individual as his or her only or main residence and includes land which the individual has for his or her own occupation and enjoyment with that residence as its garden or grounds up to an area (exclusive of the dwelling house) not exceeding one acre;

“relevant matter” means any matter relating to—

(a) the initiation, development or modification of any public policy or of any public programme,

(b) the preparation or amendment of an enactment, or

(c) the award of any grant, loan or other financial support, contract or other agreement, or of any licence or other authorisation involving public funds,

apart from any matter relating only to the implementation of any such policy, programme, enactment or award or of a technical nature.