Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
Question 300: To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will ensure that consumer protection actions and activities are not watered down as a result of the merger of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency in view of his decision to appoint the chair of the Competition Authority as the chairperson-designate of the new merged agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9284/12]
Richard Bruton (Minister, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
I do not accept the Deputy’s concerns that the consumer protection actions and activities will be watered down as a result of the merger of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency. The decision to merge the two bodies is aimed at ensuring improved co-ordination of these two policy areas. Enforcing both competition and consumer law will give the newly merged body synergies and efficiencies in carrying out its functions. This will have benefits for consumers due to the existence of a stronger and more co-ordinated body dealing with consumer and competition issues.
On the issue of the appointment of the Chairperson of the Competition Authority, who will also act as the Chairperson-designate of the proposed new merged agency, the role of the Chairperson-designate is focussed on helping shape the administrative structure of the merged body, leading its development in the early years thus providing valuable continuity during the transitional period to the formal establishment and functioning of the body. In that context I am happy to note that the two bodies are working closely together under the Chairperson-designate in advance of the formal merger to ensure that there is a seamless transition to the new merged body when it is formally established.