Competition Authority (Ireland)
|State Agency of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation overview|
|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 has 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 has a very broad role to promote competition in the economy. They do 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 operates under the Competition Act 2002 and is funded via a grant from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
The authority is 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 current Members of the Authority are Chairperson Isolde Goggin and Members Stephen Calkins, Gerald FitzGerald and Patrick Kenny.
In Budget 2009 it was announced that the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency would be amalgamated as part of a rationalisation of state agencies. Shortly beforehand, the Government had embarked on a review of the Competition Act 2002. Work on reviewing the legislation was rolled into the job of amalgamating the legislation for the two bodies and this report was published in 2012. The new consumer and competition authority was expected to be in operation some time in 2013. However, as of 2014, no progress has been made.