Taoiseach says he ‘does not approve’ of politicians taking up lobbying roles

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The Taoiseach has said he is “not happy” or “comfortable” with politicians taking up lobbying positions in areas that they have been responsible for.

Micheál Martin said he did “not approve” of a former minister going into a post that he had responsibility for as an office-holder.

A review into the legislation governing the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) is set to be conducted, after Michael D’Arcy quit the Seanad to become chief executive at the Irish Association of Investment Managers.

A former junior finance minister in the previous Fine Gael-led government, Mr D’Arcy lost his seat in the last general election.

Mr Martin told the Dáil on Tuesday that the Government had agreed that the Public Expenditure Minister would conduct a review of Sipo legislation.

“I believe the legislation should be reviewed,” Mr Martin said.

I accept that there has to be a cooling-off period, I don't approve of a former minister going into a post that he responsibility for as an office-holder

He added that “any cooling-off period should be one that has the force of law and that has sanction and penalties attached to it”.

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“I accept that there has to be a cooling-off period, I don’t approve of a former minister going into a post that he had responsibility for as an office-holder,” he said.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the Sipo legislation should be reviewed (Brian Lawless/PA)

Leader of the opposition Mary Lou McDonald claimed Mr D’Arcy had moved through the “revolving door from politics to lobbying”.

She said Sinn Féin had called for changes to the legislation but that those calls had been ignored.

In response, Mr Martin said Ms McDonald’s party has raised about 15 million dollars over the years in the United States.

“I’ve long been concerned by the fact that parties and movements can raise foreign donations to an extraordinary amount. I think that should be examined by Sipo,” he said.

“I worry about that,” he added.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said as a former minister Mr D’Arcy should have contacted Sipo prior to taking up his position.

In a statement, he added that Mr D’Arcy had now contacted Sipo.

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