The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD has announced that the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority will merge with effect from 31 October, with the aim of creating a new and more effective consumer watchdog.
The new body will be known as the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and the Minister confirmed that the parts of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 for which his department is responsible will take effect also on 31 October.
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 responsibility by 41. It is one of a range of measures in relation to the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, including the following:
- Forfás is formally amalgamated into the Department of Jobs from today (1 August), following the enactment of the Industrial Development Act. The staff of Forfás will form the core of a new Strategic Policy Division within the Department
- The Workplace Relations Bill has been published this week, which will replace 5 industrial relations and employment rights bodies with 2 new bodies: the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.
- 35 County/City Enterprise Boards have now been legally dissolved – independent legal entities with their own boards and administrative structures and replaced with 31 Local Enterprise Offices within local authorities.
- Transport and enterprise bodies in the Shannon region have been restructured, and Enterprise Ireland and IDA have taken on the enterprise support functions previously exercised by Shannon Development in the area
In addition to creating the new commission, the Competition and Consumer Protection Act also includes measures relating to regulating the grocery trade and updates the law relating to media mergers. Signing of the commencement order for the part of the Act relating to media mergers is the responsibility of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to whom responsibility for assessing the public interest angle of media mergers is being transferred under the Act.