Below the Fold is a new podcast from The Sunday Business Post that will look in detail at one issue every episode that affects politics, business, or the economy in Ireland, getting behind the issues that really matter.
For the first episode, Jack and Hugh hold forth on why lobbying is seen as a bad thing, and how it works in Ireland. From farmers to big business to charities, politicians in Ireland are constantly subject to a wide variety of lobbying. But why? What do private interests want from public institutions, and how do they go about getting it?
They’re joined from the epicentre of professional lobbying, Washington DC, by US lobbyist Tim Lynch for a look at how things are done in America, before talking to Ireland’s first lobbying regulator, Sherry Perreault, about her work in Ireland.
One issue we covered is the government’s apparent hesitancy to introduce new layers to the lobbying act, especially those which might give it more power to punish transgressions; that’s something we’ve written about before here: Government knocks back request for tougher sanctions on civil servants. If you’re interested in reading the submissions to the review of the act in more detail, they’re all available here: First review of Regulation of Lobbying Act
Our colleague Francesca Comyn wrote about the early work of the lobbying register last year here: Careful whispers: What effect is lobbying having behind closed doors. The story of Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who flew too close to the sun and was mentioned by Tim Lynch, is available here: Abramoff Gets 4 Years in Prison for Corruption. The Politico story on Ryanair and Ireland’s lobbying rules is here: How Ryanair flew around Ireland’s lobbying laws.