The changing face of lobbying in Ireland

by

Down Syndrome Ireland

What comes to mind when you think of lobbying?

People’s protests, petitions, media campaigns? Or perhaps you picture scenes of back-slapping behind closed doors between people with power and those with influence?

Whatever your views and opinions are of lobbying and lobbyists, it’s fair to say that the lobbying landscape will become far more transparent with the Regulation of Lobbying Act that comes into effect in this month.

Fuzion is among those who have registered as a lobbyist and as such we will be required to record details of relevant clients that we have engaged in lobbying activity on behalf of, the names of public officials we have contacted, the subject matter and the intended results of communications.

The legislation will require us and all other lobbyists to submit returns three times a year, beginning in January 2016.

Those affected by the new legislation include third-party lobbyists paid to engage with public representatives; companies with 10 or more employees, representative bodies and advocacy groups discussing relevant issues; and anyone lobbying about the development or zoning of land.

Lobbying has been a feature of our business and political landscape for centuries. However, the highly publicised corruption revelations and investigations give context and merit to the new regulations, which aims to give lobbying a robust ethical framework.

But it’s not just business leaders that use and value lobbying as an important tool to influencing decision makers.

Interestingly and perhaps it’s that time of year (pre Budget) but we’ve noticed increasing numbers of clients across various sectors – public and private, coming to us looking for support in relation to lobbying so the new legislation is certainly one we are keeping abreast of.

We also have a number of charities on our books and most, if not all, engage in lobbying at some level. Down Syndrome Ireland is a prime example of how lobbying can achieve significant changes.

We worked with them last year on one of the most critical and significant public awareness campaigns that gripped Ireland where we were tasked with being the voice of thousands of children with Down syndrome who were in danger of losing their discretionary medical cards.

The crucial mix of an unrelenting and determined media campaign and political lobbying gave the issue the attention it deserved.

With a clear strategy, many man hours (despite a modest budget) and sheer determination we were relieved to successfully secure a Government U-Turn on the issue months later.

It’s a lobbying campaign we are immensely proud of and we were also honoured to have won this year’s PRII award for Excellence in Lobbying for our work on that campaign.

Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted to have said: “ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent,” which is very true.

One should never underestimate the potential of people power – if you believe, then use your voice.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing who lobbies on behalf of our clients from our offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland

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One Response to “The changing face of lobbying in Ireland”

  1. Deadline 21st January – Register your lobbying activity | Fuzion Blog Says:

    […] Check out another great post by Aoibhinn “The Changing face of lobbying” […]

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