Interest group access to policymaking in Ireland

Michele Crepaz*, Raj Chari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
228 Downloads (Pure)


There are more than 2,000 interest groups in Ireland that play a key role in policy development. This paper explores which of these groups have access to Irish policymaking across various political arenas. It does so by examining original data from 2018, gained through large-N survey research on over 300 active interest groups, including business groups, firms, professional organisations, NGOs, citizen groups and consultancies. The analysis focusses on four key venues of policymaking which lobbyists seek to influence: the media, government departments, the Dáil and state agencies. We find that lobbying access in Ireland is similar to other West European countries, but also different. Organisations with higher organisational capacity and that hire revolving door lobbyists are more likely to be frequent visitors of almost all arenas compared to other groups. This is similar to existing accounts of bias in lobbying access reported in other countries. However, in contrast to scholarship focussing on other European political systems, access is not biased in favour of economic groups. The analysis fills an important empirical gap in the quantitative study of lobbying and adds an otherwise understudied perspective of non-state actor engagement in Irish politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-91
Number of pages32
JournalIrish Political Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2022


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