Maximum fine of €10m or 10% of total worldwide turnover, whichever is the greater.
The Irish Government has approved the new Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022 to give more powers to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) to challenge anti-competitive practices by business and protect consumers.
For the first time in Irish law, breaches of competition law can be enforced through administrative actions taken by competition authorities, with maximum fines of up to €10 million or 10% of total worldwide turnover, whichever is the greater.
“Cartels, where they exist, will be broken up and companies abusing a dominant position can be suitably punished with heavy fines of up to 10% of global turnover”
The Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022 fulfils a Programme for Government commitment and two actions in the Government’s Action Plan on Insurance Reform. It also fulfils one of the recommendations of the Report of the Hamilton Review (Review of Structures and Strategies to Prevent, Investigate and Penalise Economic Crime and Corruption) published by Minister McEntee.
Disincentive for cartels
The Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022 arose from the European ECN+ Directive.
The Directive will improve the decentralised system of enforcement of EU competition rules put in place by Regulation (EC) No. 1/2003 and boost the effective enforcement of EU competition rules.
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, said the new law is designed to protect consumers.
“The vast majority of businesses do not engage in anti-competitive practices, but some do at the expense of consumers and other businesses particular newer and smaller ones. This ground-breaking new law will give our competition authorities the power to crack down on those rogue operators that do,” Varadkar said.
“Cartels, where they exist, will be broken up and companies abusing a dominant position can be suitably punished with heavy fines of up to 10% of global turnover. It’s really good news for customers.
“These new powers will act as a big disincentive for those taking part in anti-competitive practices, which drive up costs, freeze out start-ups and smaller businesses and lead to bad quality products and poor services. The Bill also enables greater cooperation between competition authorities across the EU, allowing us to challenge these practices on a cross-border basis.”