We welcome Government’s plan to legislate for the introduction of a Register of Lobbyists.
We welcome it – not for the benefit Government believes it may bring – but for the fact that its introduction may well encourage PR firms to turn their backs on this trade as a means of earning fee income.
How impossible must it be for PR firms working in this sector to spend their time hanging around Dáil Éireann, begging for appointments and hoping to catch the ear of passing politicians? Then, having done so, how difficult must it be for PR firms to interpret and place reliance upon the feedback they get?
Against the shifting sands of politics, how utterly impossible must it be for PR people to make reliable political judgements on the effectiveness of their work, sufficient for them or their clients to place value upon it?
Of course, there is a place for PR in the lobbying process – by being there to advise clients, to plan campaigns and by helping to assemble arguments and piece together submissions.
Far removed from the nod and wink, theirs should be a low profile, background role only – supportive of their clients whose responsibility it should be to seek their own meetings and make their own representations.
Then would each genuine representation be seen for what it is – activity that is clean, honest, decent, above board and removed from the odium that the words ‘lobbyist’ and ‘lobbying’ often attract.