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Rabbitte, Pat

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 Nbr. 3


Order of Business.

What my colleague, Deputy Gilmore, spoke of before applies here as this is virtually a new Bill that has nothing to do with legislation and again the time is too brief.More Button

Question, “That the proposal for dealing with item No. 70 be agreed to”, put and declared carried.More Button

Competition Bill, 2001 [ Seanad ] : Report and Final Stages.

I do not object to the amendment but, as Deputy Flanagan stated, this is not the ideal way to enact legislation. Our experience with this Bill has been unsatisfactory simply because of the timetabl...More Button

We agreed to the Bill being processed because nobody in the House wants to obstruct measures that are designed to have a positive effect for consumers, whether in the stables of life such as bread ...More Button

I move amendment No. 4:More Button

In page 9, to delete lines 24 to 36.More Button

I move this amendment in the knowledge that the Minister will not have a change of heart at this late stage on this aspect of the Bill in which we are taking a major step. We are in a relatively ne...More Button

I accept that the Minister has modified her original position somewhat and I recognise the futility of proceeding.More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Amendment No. 13 reads:More Button

In page 12, to delete lines 33 to 43.More Button

The argument for making this amendment is similar to the argument I made about the appropriateness of this kind of presumption being made. I welcome the change made by the Minister in amendment No....More Button

The argument in respect of my amendment is about whether it should be presumed that a person, defined as it now is – a person of some responsibility, admittedly, would have consented to the c...More Button

The Chair will agree that it has created a precedent.More Button

I move amendment No. 13: More Button

In page 12, to delete lines 33 to 43.More Button

I move amendment No. 14:More Button

In page 13, to delete lines 44 and 45 and in page 14, to delete lines 1 to 38.More Button

The arguments are similar for this amendment. I do not know whether a person can be held vicariously liable for a criminal offence or whether that would stand a constitutional test. I do not know w...More Button

Where an authorised officer who, in the exercise of his or her powers under section 45, has removed one or more documents from any place, gives evidence in the proceedings under this Act that to th...More Button

This is again a reversal of the normal evidentiary burden and does away with the requirement for proof. I would be surprised if this is not tested.More Button

Yes.More Button

Question, “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”, put and declared carried.More Button

Amendment declared lost.More Button

I move amendment No. 28:More Button

In page 21, line 3, after “effect”, to insert “and the Minister has not by order prohibited the merger or acquisition in the public interest”.More Button

There was a reasonable discussion on this amendment on Committee Stage. It relates to section 19, which imposes certain limitations on mergers and acquisitions coming into effect. I seek to insert ...More Button

I do not envisage that the provision would be frequently invoked but it would retain a power for the Minister, notwithstanding the Competition Authority having authorised a merger on competition cr...More Button

I drew attention to the remarks on Second Stage by the Tánaiste's colleague, Deputy O'Malley, who said that confronted with the choice he would not give away all his powers in this regard. T...More Button

I am not persuaded by the arguments the Tánaiste has advanced as to why we could not leave that in the legislation. Provided a decision was transparent and had to be explained and so on, I c...More Button

The public interest does not feature at all and I believe it is not difficult to envisage a circumstance where on economic criteria the Competition Authority would say “Yes, go ahead”. However the ...More Button

Given the low profile competition policy has had in this jurisdiction over the years, I am not sure if the fact that this matter did not arise in 24 years is a compelling argument. It is likely the...More Button

We will regret this. We tend to view this in terms of the politics of the Minister holding the brief but we cannot do it that way. We have to take the risk that, whatever the politics of the Minist...More Button

I move amendment No. 33:More Button

In page 25, between lines 6 and 7, to insert the following:More Button

“(5) The Minister shall prohibit a merger or acquisition if the effect thereof is to enable an entity with an interest in more than 20 per cent of a particular media market to obtain an interest in...More Button

This section relates to media mergers, an issue touched on by the Tánaiste in response to my colleagues, Deputies Michael D. Higgins and Perry. The arguments about why the media ought to be ...More Button

The difference between us appears to have narrowed to the way in which I am trying to give expression in the Bill to the requirement to insert a threshold beyond which the Minister would prohibit a...More Button

I have tabled another amendment which seeks, perhaps in a crude way, to define “media market”. I am happy to signal I will withdraw amendment No. 35 if it impedes discussion of amendment No. 33, wh...More Button

I do not mind if the threshold differs from mine. The print-audio-television boundary is the one that matters in terms of the political health of society and there may be other areas where the leve...More Button

If the Minister is giving everything else to the Competition Authority and it possesses the expertise and genius she has ascribed to it during the passage of this legislation, why not let it define...More Button

I am not certain which section of the Bill introduces the concept of substantially lessening competition – I believe it is section 20(2)(a). That seems a very elastic concept – u...More Button

I feel strongly about this. Regarding the arguments we have made, one feels more strongly about some than others, but I feel strongly about this, as it goes to the heart of the issue. I will not rh...More Button

I am disappointed by the Minister's reply, as I honestly do not think that this section of the Bill will be effective without the insertion of percentage thresholds. The Minister chose to give me a...More Button

If she takes on board the fact that I have withdrawn my other amendment, as well as my decision to leave it to the Competition Authority to define whether a market is regional, provincial, national...More Button

I will allow my colleague, Deputy Higgins, to have another bite of the cherry.More Button

I did not say the Tánaiste was anybody's puppet. I said I suspected she was stalled—More Button

The Tánaiste has told me I am wrong and I accept that. She claims paternity of this proposal and that is all right by me. However, I believe she is wrong. I can understand why the dominant p...More Button

We have been talking about the Irish Examiner and the Evening Echo but it would be more relevant for the future to talk about the convergence of technologies that is going to provide ...More Button

I still do not know what the undertakings are. They were given behind closed doors and, to my knowledge, have not been published. I do not know if they are worth anything. That is the track record ...More Button

If the Tánaiste finds the Competition Authority so praiseworthy and reposes so much confidence in it and if it is now, however belatedly, adequately staffed, why not let the authority tussle...More Button

We all live in the real world of politics. I know this is a big issue in Irish society. I have been subjected to representations on it. One is entitled to make and receive representations in our so...More Button

I am not persuaded by the Tánaiste's arguments. I believe it is possible to define a market. It would be possible to give the authority the task of advising the Minister, leaving the Ministe...More Button

I refer to subsection (8) which states that the authority shall inform the Minister of the opinion it has so formed on request being made by the Minister of it to do so. If one reads that in conjun...More Button

The implication in subsection (7) is that this gives the authority the power to form an opinion about how the application of the special media criteria should affect the exercise of the Minister's ...More Button

Written Answers. - Human Rights Abuses.

Asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs: if he will make a statement in relation to the human rights issues posed by the conditions in Turkish prisons and those on hunger strike in particular.More Button

Written Answers. - Euro Notes.

Asked the Minister for Finance: if he has received complaints from members of the public regarding the quality of euro notes, and in particular the five euro note; if his attention has been drawn to the estimated lifespan of thes...More Button