New Competition (Amendment) Act 2022 represents a sea change in competition enforcement.
The Act represents a sea change in competition enforcement in Ireland, amending existing competition law to further empower the competition authorities (CCPC and ComReg) to challenge anti-competitive behaviour in the marketplace.
“White collar crime affects everyone. Anti-competitive behaviours drive up costs, hinders innovation, freezes out start-ups and smaller businesses and leads to bad quality products and poor services”
For the first time in Irish law, breaches of competition law can be penalised through administrative sanctions taken by the competition authorities, with maximum fines of up to €10m or 10% of turnover, whichever is greater.
A fair and transparent economy
Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment said this will help to ensure that Ireland retains its fair and transparent economy.
“The Competition (Amendment) Act represents the transformation of competition law in Ireland and is a significant piece of legislation in our overhaul of consumer and competition law. It provides a strong deterrent against engaging in anti-competitive practices. In providing our competition authorities with new powers we are sending a strong signal that white collar crime will not be tolerated and will be heavily penalised.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Company Regulation Dara Calleary, TD, added: “White collar crime affects everyone. Anti-competitive behaviours drive up costs, hinders innovation, freezes out start-ups and smaller businesses and leads to bad quality products and poor services.
This new legislation is a powerful asset in competition law enforcement that will ensure violators are faced with strong penalties. The Act ensures that consumers are empowered by a regime that penalises anti-competitive practices. This results in a healthy and competitive marketplace that offers value and choice for consumers. I will continue to work with our competition authorities to ensure the tools to tackle white collar crime are effective and robust.”
In addition to the introduction of administrative fines, the Act also introduces increased fines for breaches of competition law, new leniency provisions, an express provision against bid-rigging, and additional powers in the areas of mergers and surveillance powers.
The Act aligns competition policy across the EU, enabling greater cooperation between competition authorities and allows for the challenging of illegal practices across borders.
The Government says it represents a legislative landmark in competition law in Ireland and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring Ireland has a healthy and competitive economy.