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Dáil Éireann
Supplementary Order Paper, Tuesday, 15 - 16 November, 2005 


GNÓ COMHALTAÍ PRÍOBHÁIDEACHA
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS


Fógra i dtaobh leasú ar Thairiscint: Notice of amendment to Motion

43.  "That Dáil Éireann:

notes,

  • the continued presence of excessive charging resulting in higher prices and reduced spending power for consumers;
  •  that since 1996 the Competition Authority has not secured one significant or meaningful criminal conviction for breach of the Competition Acts; and
  • the insufficient resources allocated to the Competition Authority to do its work;
  • calls for reform of the Competition Act 2002 to allow for:
  • the creation of a category of 'Super Complaints' that can be made by bodies including the Director of Consumer Affairs, the Consumer Association of Ireland, IFSRA, the Financial Services Ombudsman and the Insurance Ombudsman;
  • the publication by the Competition Authority of an annual report on the implications of State action for competition in the provision of goods and services which identifies areas where the State, either through direct involvement in the economy, or through regulatory systems, has restricted, inhibited or prevented competition;
  • the referral of Directors of companies found to be in breach of competition law to the ODCE for possible disqualification;
  • the setting of a 30 day deadline by which time the Competition Authority should have responded to a complaint of anti-competitive practices;
  • the outlawing of predatory pricing; and
  • calls on the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to significantly increase the resources of the Competition Authority."

 - Phil Hogan, Enda Kenny, Richard Bruton, Bernard Allen, Pat Breen, Paul Connaughton, Simon Coveney, Seymour Crawford, John Deasy, Jimmy Deenihan, Bernard J. Durkan, Damien English, Olwyn Enright, Tom Hayes, Phil Hogan, Paul Kehoe, Padraic McCormack, Shane McEntee, Dinny McGinley, Paul McGrath, Gay Mitchell, Olivia Mitchell, Gerard Murphy, Denis Naughten, Dan Neville, Michael Noonan, Fergus O'Dowd, Jim O'Keeffe, John Perry, Michael Ring, David Stanton, Billy Timmins, Liam Twomey.


Leasú:
Amendment:

1.  To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann" and substitute the following:

"notes:

  • the importance to a successful fast growing economy of the effective and independent enforcement of competition law so as to prevent the emergence of anti-competitive practices, restrictions on the freedom to trade and barriers to entry in all sectors of the economy;
  • that the enactment of the Competition Act 2002 substantially increased the powers and independence of the Competition Authority and provided Ireland with one of the most modern bodies of competition law in the world;
  • that the Competition Act 2002 provides the Garda Síochána with  powers of arrest and detention in respect of competition offences, as well as making provision for financial penalties of  up to ?4m, or 10% of  turnover, for breaches of competition law;
  • the doubling of the resources available to the Competition Authority in the past five years and the continuing on-going review in conjunction with the Authority of the resource demands arising out of the increased level of activity in the economy;
  • the highly complex and resource intensive nature of criminal proceedings for breaches of competition law;
  • the determination of the Authority to seek criminal convictions for competition offences where they believe such is justified but also their track record in securing voluntary compliance with the provisions of competition law;
  • the existence, as a result of powers available to the Authority under the Competition Act 2002, of co-operation agreements with other statutory sectoral regulators with a view to guaranteeing effective competition in those sectors of the economy;
  • the entitlement of any individual or organisation who becomes aware of anti-competitive practices in the economy to bring complaints in regard to such activities to the attention of the Authority;
  • the restrictions that would be imposed on the Authority as a result of the creation of statutory deadlines for the investigation of such complaints;
  • the powers and functions of the Authority under the Competition Act 2002 to study and analyse competitive practices, to investigate any breaches of the Act and any complaints in regard to such breaches, to advise Ministers and the Government of the implications of any new legislation for competition in goods and services, to publish guidance on compliance with the Act,  to carry on such activities as it considers appropriate to inform the public of issues concerning competition, and to disclose to the Garda Síochána any information relating to the commission of an offence whether under the Act or otherwise; and
  • that the practice of predatory pricing is prohibited under section 5 of the Competition Act 2002 and that the substantial penalties provided for under the Act operate as a very convincing deterrent against engaging in such activity;

calls for:

  • the re-affirmation of confidence in the independence, determination and resources of the Authority to rigorously enforce competition law;
  • the rejection of proposals to introduce any measures which might inhibit the powers and functions of the Authority in that regard; and
  • urges all individuals and organisations to report instances of suspected anti-competitive practices and breaches of the Competition Act 2002 to the Authority with a view to ensuring their speedy investigation."

 - An tAire Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta.