Rogue operators could face a fine of €10 million or 10% of worldwide turnover for breaches of competition law, under a new law published today.
The Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022 will give more powers to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Commission for Communications Regulation.
It will enhance the ability of the CCPC and ComReg to challenge anti-competitive practices by business and to protect consumers.
Under the bill, breaches of competition law can be enforced through administrative actions, with maximum fines of up to €10 million or 10% of total worldwide turnover, whichever is the greater.
In a statement, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said he received Government approval earlier this week to publish the bill.
Mr Varadkar said "the vast majority of businesses do not engage in anti-competitive practices, but some do at the expense of consumers and other businesses particular newer and smaller ones".
He said the new law will give the competition authorities "the power to crack down on those rogue operators that do".
The Tánaiste said the new powers will "act as a big disincentive for those taking part in anti-competitive practices, which drive up costs, freeze out start-ups and smaller businesses and lead to bad quality products and poor services".
"Cartels, where they exist, will be broken up and companies abusing a dominant position can be suitably punished with heavy fines of up to 10% of global turnover. It's really good news for customers."
Mr Varadkar also said the bill will enable greater cooperation between competition authorities across the European Union to challenge anti-competitive practices on a cross-border basis.