Ireland is developing, and currently trialling as a prototype, a single central government website on which some of the ongoing consultations are published. Following the Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 2014-2016 and 2016-2018, Ireland had committed to improving consultation by public bodies with citizens, civil society and others. Despite this recent improvement, Ireland’s consultation practices do not yet operate on a systematic basis across government departments. As Ireland develops the tools to conduct more transparent and open stakeholder engagement, public consultation could be applied more systematically to a broader range of draft regulations, particularly for subordinate regulations.

The Department of the Taoiseach is responsible for the effectiveness of regulators and, together with the Office of the Attorney General, for ensuring the transparency and quality of legislation. It is also responsible for setting the overall government multi-sectoral policy in Ireland. The Department of the Taoiseach aims to reduce regulatory burdens, promote regulatory quality, encourage a business-friendly regulatory environment, and ensure inter-departmental co-ordination in regulatory development. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is responsible for RIA guidance and the provision of training on RIA, ex post evaluation, and stakeholder engagement. The implementation of regulatory management tools and oversight of sectoral economic regulators remains the responsibility of the relevant department(s).

Standing orders from Parliament state that the minister responsible for implementing a law must provide an assessment of its functioning within a year. A number of sectoral departments have also started to carry out policy and mandate reviews, which are required at least every seven years according to the Policy Statement on Economic Regulation issued in 2013. Ireland has introduced sunsetting clauses in some of the subordinate regulations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Irish policy makers could however be more systematically required to conduct ex post evaluations of existing regulations, to assess whether they actually function in practice.

Ireland conducts mandatory RIA for major primary laws and subordinate regulations. In order to more effectively monitor and assess the quality of RIA implementation, Ireland should consider establishing a central oversight body to perform core oversight functions, such as reviewing the quality of RIA and of other regulatory management tools.

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