Written Answers. - Competition Authority.

Wednesday, 29 June 1994

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 444 No. 6

First Page Previous Page Page of 174 Next Page Last Page

  104.  Mr. Hogan  Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan   asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment  Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn   if he will make a statement on the operation of the Competition Act, 1991, and the present backlog of cases that have to be dealt with by the Competition Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  105.  Mr. J. Bruton  Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton   asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment  Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn   the number of cases awaiting decision by the Competition Authority; and the average annual rate at which cases are decided.

[1299]

  106.  Mr. Broughan  Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan   asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment  Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn   the changes, if any, to the 1991 Competition Act he is currently considering; and when he will introduce new legislation.

  111.  Ms McManus  Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus   asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment  Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn   the additional powers he plans to give to the Competition Authority; when it is expected that the additional powers will be provided.

Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I propose to take Questions Nos. 104, 105, 106 and 111 together.

In regard to the backlog, the Authority has, at my request, drawn up a work programme designed to make significant inroads into the number of cases on hand by the end of this year, with a progressive reduction in the backlog in coming years. Progress in this regard is being monitored closely.

At 31 May 1994, the Authority had received a total of 1,249 notifications and had made 332 decisions covering 656 notifications, leaving a balance of 593 notifications to be dealt with.

The Authority has played an important role in guiding and defining pro-competitive business behaviour and will continue to do so in the future.

Under the recently published Competition (Amendment) Bill, 1994, which I introduced in this House yesterday, it is proposed to provide for public independent enforcement of competition rules. The existing system of whereby the principal means of enforcement was through private actions in the civil courts has proved, in the period of operation, to be less than fully effective. To strengthen the application of the law I am proposing to appoint a member of the Competition Authority with specific responsibility for enforcement matters, the new member to be the Director of Competition Enforcement.

The second major change to the law proposes to remove all mergers from the scope of section 4 of the Competition Act. Section 4 of the 1991 Act created a dual jeopardy difficulty with mergers [1300] being subject to two sets of regulatory instruments.

The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 1994, is largely confined to making these two major changes. I will look at the overall position of the law in a couple of years time when we will have the benefit of seeing how the latest arrangements have worked in practice.


Last Updated: 22/05/2011 00:34:25 First Page Previous Page Page of 174 Next Page Last Page