One of the highest spenders among business representative groups across the 28 European Union member states is Ireland’s Ibec, which represents more than 7,500 companies in Ireland. Ibec spent €1.3m on lobbying activities in the EU last year.

Only two organisations spent more – both groups are in Germany. The BDI (the Federation of German Industries) spent between €2.75m and €3m, while the BDA (the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations) spent between €1.5m and €1.75m.

As reported by The Irish Times, Ibec has four full-time staff based in Brussels but the overall spend is supplemented by employees at its base in Dublin, who would visit the Belgian city for specific meetings. It represents both domestic and international businesses operating in Ireland, both big and small.

Overall, Ibec self-declared a full-time equivalent staff of 10 for the purposes of its EU interactions in 2017. In total, it has more than 230 staff in seven locations, and has 42 different trade associations under its umbrella.

Total lobbying expenditure for last year included staff costs, in-house operational expenditure such as office, stationery, events, and membership of European trade associations and related fees, noted The Irish Times.

“Ibec has established itself as the largest and most influential lobby group in Ireland,” said Ibec’s head of corporate affairs, Siobhán Masterson. “Policymaking has a profound impact on the economy and as our members employ over 70% of private sector workers in Ireland, it is imperative that they have a voice at the table when policies are being debated and developed.”

According to Masterson, Ibec has adopted a greater international engagement to reflect the globalised nature of Ireland’s economy and to ensure its members are heard in Brussels, London, Europe and the US.