Dáil Éireann - Volume 633 - 06 March, 2007
Written Answers. - Departmental Bodies.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will enhance the powers and remit of the Competition Authority. [8582/07]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Mr. Martin: The Competition Authority is the independent statutory agency responsible for the enforcement of competition law in the State. Its mandate and functions are set out in the Competition Act 2002, as amended.
The 2002 Act consolidated, reformed and modernised previous legislation relating to competition policy and merger control. In essence the Act:
increased the penalties for serious cartel activities, such as price fixing;
enhanced the independence of the Competition Authority; and
 transferred responsibility for controlling mergers and acquisitions from the Minister to the Competition Authority with the exception of media mergers where the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment retains a residual function.
The Act was the culmination of a root and branch review of all aspects of competition law in the State which was undertaken by the Competition and Mergers Review Group. The Review Group, which reported in 2000, comprised eminent lawyers, economists and representatives from right across the economic spectrum, including the Social Partners.
The 2002 Act implemented many of the recommendations of the Review Group, and also anticipated developments at EU level. In particular it provided a framework for the application of Regulation 1 of 2003 in the State whereby the Authority was enabled to fully apply the European Community competition rules.
The 2002 Act became fully operational on 1 January 2003. Therefore, it is a recent statute and forms the basis for one of the most modern competition regimes in the world.
Nonetheless, during the course of 2007 my Department intends to commence a review of the operation of the Competition Act 2002. The need to make changes to the powers and functions of the Competition Authority will be considered when this review is completed.
Dáil Éireann 633 Written Answers. Departmental Bodies.