Legislation to fully implement EU Digital Services Act in Ireland

Legislation to fully implement EU Digital Services Act in Ireland

Draft legislation providing for the full implementation of the EU Digital Services Act in Ireland has been published.

The EU Digital Services Regulation, more commonly referred to as the EU Digital Services Act, will establish a new regulatory framework to protect EU users of digital services and their fundamental rights online from next February.

The Digital Services Bill 2023 will designate Coimisiún na Meán as the digital services co-ordinator and lead competent authority for the EU Regulation and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) as a second competent authority with specific responsibility for online marketplaces.

Enterprise, trade and employment minister Simon Coveney said: “I very much welcome the publication of the Digital Services Bill.

“The events of recent weeks, in Ireland and abroad, have demonstrated the risks posed by illegal and harmful online content and the spread of disinformation. They have underscored the need for a comprehensive and effective regulatory framework to protect individuals as well as society at large. This bill, once enacted, will be an indispensable component of that EU-wide framework.

“As a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to the regulation of online platforms, €2.7 million was allocated in 2023 to specifically support the establishment of the Digital Services function within Coimisiún na Meán, in preparation for this legislation. Budget 2024 allocates a further €6 million to complete preparations and capacity building for the Digital Services function and to support initial operations.”

Dara Calleary, minister for trade promotion, digital and company regulation, added: “The Digital Services Bill will ensure that the rights and protections provided for in the EU Digital Services Regulation will be rigorously asserted in Ireland, for the benefit of Irish users of digital services.

“I was pleased to announce earlier this year, together with the minister for tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sport and media, Catherine Martin, the appointment of the digital services commissioner in Coimisiún na Meán. The publication of this bill marks another important step in preparing for full implementation of EU Regulation in Ireland from 17 February 2024.

“The bill is tightly integrated with the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022. This will ensure that the new functions and responsibilities for Coimisiún na Meán under the EU Regulation will be closely integrated with the Coimisiún’s other responsibilities, and that there is a coherent framework in Ireland for the regulation of online platforms.

“Our national digital strategy, Harnessing Digital, sets out Ireland’s ambition to be a centre of regulatory excellence in Europe for the benefit of both industry and consumers. This ambition is to be realised through a modern, cohesive, and well-resourced regulatory system for the digital economy. The Digital Services Bill will be a key enabler of this vision.”

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