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Health remains the area of public policy where the greatest amount of lobbying takes place in Ireland, according to data from the lobbying register maintained by the Standards in Public Office Commission (www.lobbying.ie).
As of 8 September, the statistics showed health as the policy area with the highest number of registered incidences of lobbying, with 6,001 registrations. The next largest area was ‘economic development and industry’, with 3,451 registered incidences, while in third place was agriculture with 2,861.
This is the same top three policy areas as when the Medical Independent last reported on the statistics in February 2018. The figures include all registrations since the website was launched in 2015.
The Department of Health remains the most lobbied Government department, with 3,870 registered incidences over the same time period.
The Department of Finance is next with 3,102. In late June, the Standards in Public Office Commission published its 2020 annual report under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. During 2020, the total number of registrants on the register increased to 2,089, almost a 7 per cent increase on 2019. In the first returns period of January to April 2020, the number of returns submitted was 3,324.
However, the number of returns increased quite significantly for the second and third returns periods of the year, bringing the total number of returns to just over 11,600.
“The increase in returns submitted likely reflects lobbying due to the pandemic,” according to the Standards Commission. Returns submitted for 2020 include 1,378 specifically referencing the pandemic (using the terms ‘Covid-19’, ‘Covid 19’ or ‘coronavirus’), across most public policy areas.”
The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 was signed into law in March 2015 and the Act commenced in September 2015.