Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Other Questions

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

3:35 pm

Photo of Mary Mitchell O'ConnorMary Mitchell O'Connor (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The current legal position is that civil fines are not provided for in Irish law for anti-competitive practices. The Attorney General has previously advised my Department that providing for them would pose legal difficulties, having regard to Article 38.1 of the Constitution, even at the level of a class A fine. In that context, any legislation to introduce civil fines that would lower the burden of proof from "beyond reasonable doubt" to "the balance of probability" would pose constitutional difficulties, having regard to the protection afforded in Article 38.1.

I am aware the Law Reform Commission published an issues paper, Regulatory Enforcement and Corporate Offences, on 27 January 2016. The issues paper invites views on the supervisory and enforcement powers of the State’s main financial and economic regulators, including the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. The issue of administrative and civil fines has been raised. I look forward to the outcome of this consultation process. Any recommendations or proposals that may emanate from this exercise in due course will be carefully considered by my Department.


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