Competition watchdog expands in anticipation of Brexit
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has recruited new staff in anticipation of a significant increase in the number and complexity of merger notifications following Brexit.
The competition watchdog continued to “adjust and expand to meet increased responsibilities and challenges, particularly in preparation for the impact of Brexit”, chairperson Isolde Goggin said.
“One such anticipated change is an increase in the number of merger notifications, due to the fact that some mergers (affecting Ireland and the UK) which were previously notified to the European Commission, may now be separately notified to Ireland and the UK,” she said.
“The CCPC has recruited staff to ensure that the organisation is prepared to deal with the expected increase in the number and complexity of merger notifications.”
Writing in the introduction to the CCPC’s 2019 annual report, she said 2019 was “a particularly significant year for the merger regime in Ireland”, highlighting Ireland’s first criminal conviction for gun-jumping as well as the increased financial thresholds for mergers.
Beyond mergers, the watchdog last year investigated potential bid-rigging in the procurement of publicly-funded transport services in certain part of Munster and Leinster and submitted a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions. It also made “significant progress” in investigations in the motor insurance and ticketing sectors.
The watchdog examined around 75 consignments containing 663,000 product units which were referred to the CCPC by customs officials. Of these, 152,883 products were either re-exported or sent for destruction.
The CCPC tackled vehicle crime by carrying out several inspections and a significant number of investigations into the sale of clocked or crashed cars. This resulted in court convictions, compensation orders and compliance notices against motor traders.
It also inspected 103 traders for compliance with consumer protection laws, which resulted in 32 fixed payment notices and 16 compliance notices being issued to traders.