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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 30 Jan 1964

Vol. 207 No. 2

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Resale Price Maintenance.


asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he has studied the proposals made by the British Government affecting resale price maintenance; and whether it is his intention to take any action with regard to resale price maintenance in this country.


asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether the Government intend to legislate for the discontinuance of retail price maintenance in the Republic.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 32 together.

Provision is already contained in the Restrictive Trade Practices Acts, 1953 and 1959, for the full investigation of any restrictive practice, including resale price maintenance, by the Fair Trade Commission with a view to establishing whether the practice is unfair or contrary to the public interest. As Deputies are aware, resale price maintenance has been prohibited by means of Orders, confirmed by the Oireachtas, in a number of trades where it has been established before the Commission that the practice has operated contrary to the public interest; in a large number of other trades the practice has been eliminated by means of Fair Trading Rules made by the Commission, after consultations with the trades concerned, and in all other trades the general effect of the practice is kept under constant review by the Commission. The legislation governing restrictive practices is and will be kept under review by my Department to ensure that it is effective in promoting efficiency and competition in trade, having regard to the economic conditions obtaining in the home market and international trade.

Has the Minister not repeatedly made the point that he believes in the interaction of free competition as a dynamic of private enterprise and in those circumstances, will he not take steps to see that resale price maintenance is generally prohibited in regard to the sale of goods throughout the country? I am sure the Minister is aware that it operates very strongly in regard to many goods, electrical and hardware products, petrol and so on. It will only be of advantage to the community if there is real competition?

Resale price maintenance is objectionable where its practice is contrary to the public interest and in any cases where that has been shown, effective action has been taken. As I said, the matter is kept under constant review and any complaints received are most closely investigated and any action that seems to be necessary is taken.

Despite the Minister's concern, the operation of free competition is not considered an essential dynamic in the operation of private enterprise?

It is the main dynamic but there are certain cases where there are pseudo-monopolies in certain goods and these cases are being kept particularly under observation and certain action has been taken.