Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (577)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

577. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of investigative cases commenced for suspected anti-competitive conduct that does not fall within the definition of a cartel; the number of inspections carried out; the number of prosecutions made; the number of fines issued, the value of fines issued; the number of collected and uncollected fines; the average fine per case in which fines were issued; and the average length of anti-competitive investigations to date in each year since the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was established in tabular form. [19278/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of domestic and EU competition law in the State. Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. As investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Commission, I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in these matters.

The information sought by the Deputy in relation to civil investigative actions has been provided by the CCPC and is set out in the table below for the period 31 October 2014 to 30 April 2019.

Actions

Nos.

Number of investigative cases commenced:

12139 files screened*

The number of inspections carried out:

Four

The number of prosecutions made:

NATen investigations closed with commitments

The number of cases which concluded with fines issued:

NA

The amount in Euro of fines issued:

NA

The number of collected and uncollected fines:

NA

The average fine per case:

NA

The average length of anti-competitive investigations to date.

12 to 36 Months

*Please note this figure relates to the period January 2016 to 30 April 2019.

When the CCPC receives a complaint in relation to potential anti-competitive behaviour it is examined through a screening process before a decision can be made as to whether there is sufficient evidence to open an investigation. The CCPC cannot make administrative decisions or determinations concerning breaches of competition law. Only the courts can issue decisions confirming if a particular practice constitutes a breach of competition law.

The Irish Courts cannot impose fines on individuals or undertakings in civil proceedings for breaches of competition law. The most the CCPC can achieve by taking civil proceedings before the Courts is a declaration that the conduct is illegal and an injunction to prevent the company or individual from continuing such conduct.