3-6 pm, Thursday April 25th 2013
Institute of Bankers, 1 North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
Sponsored by NUI Maynooth (NIRSA/ Sociology) and UCD Geary Institute Continue reading
Posted by Elaine Byrne
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are currently engaged in a process of consultation in order to introduce a regulatory system for lobbying in Ireland. Department officials will publish a policy paper on the process in May and the anticipated legislation is due early next year. I believe that this is one of the most significant political reform initiatives of this government. The attempt to legislate for influence is not an easy task. The approach by Minister Brendan Howlin and his team is very welcome and perhaps a model in how consultation and legislation should be introduced in the future.
I met with the Department’s civil servants last week to discuss my submission on lobbying. My colleagues Gary Murphy and Raj Chari have been very much involved since the early stages of the process. The Department has received over 50 submissions from different organisations and interests.
Key issues for lobbying regulation
- -How ambitious should the legislation be? Would an over regulated system actually prove counterproductive because of cost issues and the administrative burden on those engaged in lobbying?
- -How do you define *lobbyist*? Transparency International argues that the term lobbyist is misleading and too narrowly defined. Is the President of the IFA, for example, a lobbyist although he is not paid?
- -What exactly should be regulated?
- -How influential are PR firms in the lobbying process?
Any observations on these or other matters related to lobbyists are greatly appreciated. I hope to write on this shortly.
Ken McDonagh 13 April 2011
Vincent Browne has a new bugbear – party finance. In today’s Irish Times he writes: ‘The only reason anyone would give money to a political party is because they expect to get something in return’
He goes on to link the problem of private funding for political parties to the disproportionate representation of the views of the very wealthy, (to read the full article click here) however his proposed solution is neither fair nor practical.
This is due to the fact that Vincent has misidentified the problem, the transactional nature of political support is not the core of the issue – namely the willingness to donate in order to have your view represented, essentially this is the same logic as voting – the problem is the relative difference in power and influence between the very wealthy and the ordinary citizens produced by the ability of the former to use their substantial financial resources to influence policy makers. Continue reading
Theresa Reidy and John Considine 7th December, 2010
The most discussed budget in decades in due today. The budget is the main feature in the Finance calendar in any country but this year, the Irish budget is likely to be the centre of international attention. Budget 2011 will be exceptional for a variety of reasons. It will be the first budget presented to the Dáil, subject to direct monitoring, under the terms of the EU and IMF bailout. In fact, the bailout is dependent upon the budget being passed. The ongoing crisis in the Euro area means that international markets, governments and institutions will all be observing the outcomes of the budget.
Posted by Michael Breen (16 November 2011)
The international media’s spotlight has been firmly on Ireland over the last few days. The talk of the town is of an IMF or European-led bailout. This raises several interesting questions. Why now, with the state apparently funded until June 2011? What sort of terms would be offered in the event of a bailout? And, most importantly what would this mean for Ireland’s economic sovereignty? Continue reading
Posted by Elaine Byrne
Will Oli Rehn’s call for long-term Irish economic planning at long last give the government the proverbial kick up the behind to get the Irish decision making process in order?
The short-termism that dominates Irish decision making was best demonstrated by the myopic and stupid decision in 1977 to abolish rates which has ever since undermined local government capability. I have written before how policy debate in Ireland involves whipping up emotions rather than cogent debate.
The OECD have continuously criticised Ireland for not fully introducing regulatory impact analysis (RIA) into decision making processes. RIA’s deter the crisis-led approach or kite-flying that characterises how decisions tend to be made in Ireland. Instead we we need to embrace evidence-based policymaking which allows for a systematic early consideration of the benefits, costs and compliance issues of new legislation. Effective public sector reform would open up decision-making to interested stakeholders and the wider public rather than our traditional Civil Service-led policy approach. For outline on how RIA’s work, see here:
posted by Elaine Byrne
The Department of Justice have recently published a discussion document on “Organised and White Collar Crime”, and this paper can be found here.
By Michael Gallagher
This rather provocative title is intended to raise the issue of just what end it’s hoped will be served by political reform.
Possible ends could be classed as process-oriented or outcome-oriented. Regarding the former, having a political system that is more transparent and participatory is worth trying to achieve in its own right, regardless of whether anything actually changes ‘on the ground’. The fact there was very little talk of political reform while the economy was (or seemed to be) booming might suggest that, while process considerations no doubt play some part in the minds of reformers, for most these are a secondary consideration, and they are either seen as not important or as important primarily because it is hoped they will lead to better outcomes. Continue reading
Eoin O’Malley, 3 September 2010
The Poolbeg controversy rumbles on with claims that Dublin’s local authorities have a get out clause which will allow them break their contract with Covanta; a contract which many have argued is uncompetitive. Whether this is true or not could be given to the courts to decide, but in claiming that the councils must proceed with the contract, Dublin City Council commit some basic errors in decision making Continue reading
Vincent Browne’s article in today’s Irish Times takes up a familiar theme; typically described as the institutional ‘weakness’ of the Oireachtas, or as Browne puts it rather more forcefully, the idea that the Oireachtas ‘plays no meaningful role in our society’.
In many ways, this is the flip side of the debate on the electoral system reform issue. Even assuming that some sort of reformed electoral system would lead to the election of TDs who were totally focused on playing the role of the national legislatior, engaging with their constituents only to bring their concerns and insights to the national legislative process; what exactly would such TDs actually be able to do in the Oireachtas as presently configured?