As the Deputy is no doubt aware, price control on and the associated investigations of petroleum products were discontinued in 1991. In the meantime, the objective and thrust of public policy have been to promote fair and increased competition in all sectors of the economy. The Competition Acts 1991-96 outlaw concerted practices, such as price-fixing, and the abuse of a dominant position which could impact adversely on the price and supply of goods.
In order to give further impetus to competition policy, the process of appointing a Director of Enforcement of Competition, as provided for in the 1996 Act, is currently in train.
With regard to the display of motor fuel prices, I intend to amend the Retail Prices (Petrol) Display Order, 1986. dealing with the display of actual prices of motor fuels and to make a new Order under section 11 of the Consumer Information Act, 1978 dealing with advertisements relating to a reduction in the price of motor fuels. I am consulting the Director of Consumer Affairs on the proposed Orders and on the more rigorous enforcement of the Orders.
Before finally making the Orders, I intend consulting Motor Fuel Distributors Ltd, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, the Automobile Association and the Consumers' Association of Ireland.