Irish parliament moves to bar uninvited lobbyists

DUBLIN: Ireland's public ­affairs community has welcomed reforms that will ­effectively limit lobbyists' ­access to Dublin's parliament building, Leinster House.

Members of the parliament houses, the Dáil and the Senate, have been told they must accompany visitors to the building when parliament reconvenes next month.

The new rules also state that members can receive up to four people in their office at any one time, and that visitors cannot proceed from one member's office to doorstep other elected representatives, or buttonhole them in the restaurant or the bar.

Large groups wishing to meet several representatives are advised to hire a private meeting room.

Dublin-based MRPA Kinman Communications director Stephen O'Byrnes, who has worked in politics in Ireland for more than three decades, said: ‘When I meet people at Leinster House, there are usually only one or two of us in attendance, so this would not affect us.'

He added: ‘We already have relationships with the people we are visiting, and have spoken to them or sent background briefing documents before we meet. But these new rules highlight the need to control large groups, such as pressure groups.'

Public Relations Institute of Ireland CEO Gerry Davis added: ‘These rules are eminently sensible. Our members are dealing with elected representatives on a one-to-one basis, and the Dáil bar should be an exclusive place, where members can avoid being buttonholed by people who are not invited.'

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