The Commission for Communications Regulation is to take over the regulation and control of Ireland's domain name .ie.

A statement from the Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources said legislation to provide for the transfer of the .ie domain name registry (IEDR) to ComReg was being drawn up and was expected to go before the Cabinet shortly.

Latest figures show that almost 40,000 websites have .ie registrations.

Minister Dermot Ahern said the .ie name was a national resource, and that the transfer to ComReg would 'immeasurably strengthen' the registry's operations.

He said the new legislation would also provide for fines of up to €2,000 a day for non-compliance with regulations. ComReg will be able to impose a levy on the registration authority to fund the cost of managing the registration authority.