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Is there a need for new minimum consultation standards in the Republic of Ireland?

We were interested to see released this week the Irish government’s consultation on the National Minimum Wage rate for 2021. The consultation, released on 10th February by the Low Pay Commission, an independent body set up to advise the Irish Government on the National minimum wage is fairly straightforward. So straightforward in fact that they seem to have dispensed with a consultation document and supporting material entirely. Visitors to the consultation page on their website are merely invited to “…submit your opinion on the National Minimum Wage…” Quite a broad question, one might think.

A look back at previous years reveals that this is a repeated pattern, a barebones consultation followed by an admittedly comprehensive report, based partially on the consultation responses (65 in 2019, down from the peak figure of 94 in 2018), and partially on other investigative work by the Commission to give final recommendations.

The somewhat minimal nature of this consultation has got tongues wagging here at the Institute as we wonder whether the first action of the new Irish government, currently in the process of being formed, might be to look at applying some ‘national minimum consultation standards’ to ensure that prospective consultees have the relevant information they need before responding to a consultation. Whilst we do not doubt that the consultation is being done by the LPC in all good faith, events on the other side of the Irish Sea in the UK have demonstrated how open to challenge decisions can be on the grounds of weak consultation.

About the Author

Stephen serves as the Institute’s Legal and Parliamentary Officer. Before joining the Institute Stephen studied Law at Bangor University and pursued a Masters’ degree in Aviation and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal. After this, he returned to London and was called to the bar in 2016 at the Honorable Society of Gray’s Inn, before deciding not to go into practice and move towards public policy work instead. Within the Institute, Stephen provides legal, political and policy analysis of UK and global current affairs of interest to consultors and consultees.

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