Farrell criticises Minister McGrath for pushing ahead own Bill to regulate lobbying

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Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell has criticised Minister Michael McGrath for pushing ahead with his own Bill to regulate lobbying, rather than support a Sinn Féin Bill which is at Committee stage.

Sinn Féin’s Regulation of Lobbying Bill (2020) was brought forward by Deputy Farrell and Pearse Doherty TD, and is awaiting its pre-legislative scrutiny report.

Deputy Farrell said that she is ‘disappointed, although hardly surprised’ that the Minister has decided to proceed with his own Bill.

“This was an opportunity to work together with the opposition and to close the existing loopholes in our lobbying regime,” said the Galway West TD.

“The weaknesses in the current regulation of lobbying framework were brought into sharp focus following the controversy of former Junior Finance Minister Michael D’Arcy’s attempt to join the lobbying organisation for the Irish Funds Industry, seemingly in breach of the ‘cooling off period’.

“As reported by RTÉ, the Minister’s Bill will emulate a number of the measures of our Bill, however it will go for a shorter 12 month ‘cooling off’ period, than the 24 month requirement we are calling for.”

Deputy Farrell said that “nobody is served by a revolving door between politics and big business”.

“Minister McGrath and this government claim they love competition in the marketplace, and yet a revolving door situation is corrosive to competition,” she said.

“It allows people to trade on their former insider influence to distort competition. You would think that this would be a concern for this government, but apparently not.”