Ireland Seeks To Give Competition Regulator More Powers

Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar will next week bring new legislation to Cabinet which will give the National Consumer Competition Commission powers to put in place fines for companies which breach competition rules.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Varadkar said that he will bring the Competition Amendment Bill to Cabinet next Tuesday, January 25, and that the legislation will be published later during the week.

“That will give the National Consumer Competition Commission and potentially Comreg as well additional powers to impose administrative fines, to make it easier for them to fine companies that are in breach of rules and competition law,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said that the Commission will also have “more powers around interception and surveillance.”

The new legislation will give more powers to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in a number of ways, including giving the Commission power when carrying out investigations to carry out video and audio surveillance and seal premises.

It will also be able to make a legally-binding decision that there has been a breach of EU and Irish competition law.

The Commission will also be able to prosecute on “gun-jumping” offenses to reduce the burden on the Director of Public Prosecutions, which would take place when companies who decide to merge notify the Commission, but do not wait for its approval.

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