Overview and recent developments

Ireland recently made some improvements to its regulatory policy system, particularly in the areas of consultation and ex post evaluation.

A Consultation Principles and Guidance document was issued in 2016, and the government is more broadly promoting open data, citizen participation and greater public governance and accountability via the Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan. Progress is also underway to consolidate various department consultation notices on a central government website by the end of 2018. Despite these recent improvements, Ireland’s consultation practices do not yet operate on a systematic basis across government departments.

Since June 2016, standing orders from Parliament state that the Minister responsible for implementing a law must provide an ex post 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 continues to conduct mandatory RIA for all primary laws and major subordinate regulations. In order to more effectively monitor and assess the quality of RIA implementation, Ireland should consider establishing a central oversight body.

Institutional setup for regulatory oversight

The Department of the Taoiseach is responsible for the effectiveness of regulators and, together with the Office of the Attorney General, ensures the transparency and quality of legislation. It is also responsible for setting the overall government multi-sectoral policy in Ireland. As part of its overarching policy-setting, the Department of the Taoiseach aims to reduce regulatory burden, promote regulatory quality, encourage a business-friendly regulatory environment, and ensure inter-departmental coordination in regulatory development. The Department of the Taoiseach has pioneered the Better Regulation agenda in Ireland in 2004 and issued Ireland’s first guidance document on RIA in 2005. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) has since taken over responsibilities on RIA guidance. DPER also provides training in various regulatory management tools, including RIA, ex post evaluation, and stakeholder engagement. Most recently, DPER issued a Consultation Principles and Guidance document in 2016. However, the implementation of regulatory management tools and oversight of sectoral economic regulators remains the responsibility of the relevant Department(s).

Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance (iREG): Ireland, 2018

Notes: The more regulatory practices as advocated in the OECD Recommendation on Regulatory Policy and Governance a country has implemented, the higher its iREG score. The indicators on stakeholder engagement and RIA for primary laws only cover those initiated by the executive (98% of all primary laws in Ireland).

Source: Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance Surveys 2014 and 2017,


Location of regulatory oversight functions: Ireland

Regulatory oversight functions

Centre of government

Ministry of Finance, Economy or Treasury

Ministry of Justice

Other ministries

Non-departmental body


Office of the Attorney General

Supreme audit institution

Part of the judiciary

Quality control of…


Stakeholder engagement

Ex post evaluation

Identifying policy areas where regulation can be made more effective

Systematic improvement of regulatory policy

Co-ordination of regulatory policy

Guidance, advice and support

Scrutiny of legal quality

Notes: ⚫ indicates that a given regulatory oversight function is covered by at least one body in a particular location. Data present the situation as of 31 December 2017 and do not reflect changes that may have taken place in 2018.

Source: Survey questions on regulatory oversight bodies, Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance Survey 2017,

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