Measuring the Impact of the Competition Act

JEL Classification K00 and K21

Patrick Massey and Paula O'Hare

Competition Authority, Irish Life Centre, Talbot Street, Dublin 1, Ireland


This paper analyses the impact of the Competition Act 1991, largely by focusing on the decisions of the Competition Authority during its first three years. The Act, which was based on Articles 85 and 86 of the Treaty of Rome, introduced a prohibition based system of competition law in Ireland. It appears that the Act has not been wholly effective due, in part, to the abscence of an effective system of state enforcement. It is proposed that the Act be amended to enable the Authority to investigate breaches of the Act and take court actions in such cases. This raises some questions about devising penalties which will provide a sufficient deterrent to firms engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.


The authors would like to thank Patrick Lyons, John Fingleton and Joe Durkan for their helpful comments on an earlier draft while accepting full responsibility for any remaining errors and omissions. The views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not puport to represent those of the Competition Authority.