Competition Authority (Ireland)
|State Agency of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation overview|
|Dissolved||31 October 2014|
|Superseding agency||Competition and Consumer Protection Commission|
|Headquarters||14 Parnell Square, Dublin 1|
|State Agency of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation executive||Isolde Goggin, Chairman|
|Key document||Competition Act, 2002|
|Website||Competition Authority website|
Purpose and powers
Consumers are at the core of the Competition Authority's work. Its aim is to make sure that competition works for the benefit of all consumers who buy products and services in Ireland. This includes businesses, the State and its agents, as well as individuals.
It had the power to investigate if there is evidence that businesses are involved in anti-competitive practices, such as price-fixing, or that businesses are abusing a dominant position. It can also block mergers between businesses that would substantially reduce competition and harm consumers.
The Authority also had a very broad role to promote competition in the economy. They did this by calling for reform when Irish laws, regulations or actions by State bodies restrict competition. They advise Government and its agents on how proposed legislation or regulations could affect competition. This prevents future problems for consumers. This helps to give a voice to consumers when it comes to public policy-making. They also promote competition by telling public authorities and the public about the benefits of competition.
The Authority operated under the Competition Act 2002 and was funded via a grant from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
The authority was divided into six divisions: Cartels, Monopolies, Advocacy, Mergers, Strategy and Corporate Services. The Authority is a collegiate body, consisting of four full-time members, who each head one or more divisions, appointed following an open competition by the Public Appointments Service.
The former Members of the Authority were Chairperson Isolde Goggin and Members Stephen Calkins, Gerald FitzGerald and Patrick Kenny.
In November 2008 the Government announced the amalgamation of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency as part of a rationalisation of State agencies. On 31 March 2014 the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill was published. On 31 July Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation announced that the legislation would commence and the new Competition and Consumer Protection Commission would be established on 31 October 2014.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission will have a dual mandate to enforce competition and consumer law. Both organisations continued to perform their statutory functions until the merger was given effect on 31 October 2014.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is now be governed by an executive Chair and Membership structure. The Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 allows for a Chair and between two and six Members.
The current Chair of the Competition Authority, Isolde Goggin, was appointed designate Chair of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission on taking up her current role in 2011. Ms Goggin will be supported in her role by the Members of the new Commission which include the three current Members of the Competition Authority, Stephen Calkins, Gerald FitzGerald and Patrick Kenny, and the current Chief Executive of the National Consumer Agency, Karen O'Leary, all of whom were appointed Members-designate of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innnovation upon taking up their current positions.