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Consumer, competition bodies to merge

Thursday, July 31 12:08:43

The National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority will merge with the aim of creating a consumer champion with real teeth, the Government said today.

The merger will take effect from 31st October next, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton said today.

The establishment of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission will place the full range of consumer, competition and criminal powers of the two agencies, along with the strong additional powers put in place by the legislation, at the disposal of this new watchdog, he said.

The move forms part of a programme of reform Minister Bruton has undertaken across his Department and Agencies, which when complete will reduce the numbers of agencies under his Department's has responsibility by 41.

This is part of a drive under the Action Plan for Jobs to put in place services which can meet the needs of the modern jobs-rich economy which the Department is committed to support.

"Firstly, it will establish the new Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. This will be a powerful body with real teeth acting with a wide range of consumer, competition and criminal law powers at its disposal to protect and vindicate consumers' rights," the Minister said.

"Secondly, this law will allow us introduce strong Regulations and powerful new investigation and enforcement powers to ensure fairness between suppliers and retailers in the grocery goods sector. This will give effect to the Programme for Government commitment on this important issue. A consultation is currently ongoing on the precise content of those regulations with the various stakeholders who will be affected, and it is my intention to be in a position to bring in the Regulations as soon as possible after the commencement date for the legislation."

"Thirdly, we are modernising media merger laws to reflect with international best practice and in line with the latest technological developments by implementing in full the recommendations of that Advisory Group and making important changes to update laws in this area."

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