Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
Michael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
Question 134: To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he is satisfied that a free and fair market exists for cement in this country; his views on the cost differential per tonne for cement supplied to the Irish market and the cost per tonne at which the same cement is exported to the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8829/12]
Richard Bruton (Minister, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
One of the objectives of the Competition Act 2002 is to prohibit activities which prevent, distort or restrict competition in trade in the State. In that context, the Competition Authority is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of competition law in the State. Section 29 (3) of the Competition Act 2002 provides that the Authority is independent in the performance of its functions while under section 30(1)(b) of that Act, the Competition Authority is responsible for investigating alleged breaches of the Act. Persons who have concerns that anti-competitive practices are being undertaken should bring their concerns to the attention of the Competition Authority. As investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Authority, I have no direct function in the matter. On the issue of cost differentials, pricing strategies in any business is the normal outcome of the competitive process and is a legitimate business tool. Such practices are matters for businesses themselves and are ones in which I have no direct function.