Standards of Competition in the Irish Economy

JEL Classification L40, K21

John Fingleton

Department of Economics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland


This paper argues that the Irish economy is characterised by high levels of industrial concentration and weak competition. Competition rules introduced in 1991 and strenghthened in 1996 have had a significant effect in many markets, but those with the most extremely anti-competitive markets have remained from these rules. In some instances, political lobbying has resulted in unjustified protection from competition. The paper recommends that further improvements to competition rules are required and, most importantly, that all sectors of the economy should be exposed to these rules in a way that is not susceptible to political interference.


I would like to thank Dermot Sheridan and Ciaran O'Cuinneagan for help with obtaining data, Donal de Buitleir, Patrick Lyons, Dermot McAleese, Paula O'Hare, Francis O'Toole, Frances Ruane, participants at a CEPR conference on Competition Rules and Institutions in Florence in November 1996 and an anonymous referee for useful comments and suggestions and Carol Boate for research assistance. I remain responsible for any errors.