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Ireland Names New Competition Head

 |  September 20, 2023
In a significant development for consumer protection in Ireland, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Simon Coveney, announced today the appointment of Brian McHugh as the new Chairperson of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). McHugh, a seasoned public sector professional with over 20 years of experience, has been a Member of the CCPC since 2017.

McHugh’s appointment marks a pivotal moment for the CCPC, which plays a crucial role in safeguarding consumers and ensuring fair competition in Ireland’s markets.

Speaking about his new role, McHugh emphasized the pressing need for organizations like the CCPC to address harmful business practices, offer practical assistance to consumers, and advocate on their behalf. He noted that consumers worldwide are grappling with cost-of-living pressures, underscoring the importance of well-functioning markets that benefit consumers.

One of McHugh’s primary objectives as Chairperson will be to leverage the CCPC’s new legal powers to confront businesses engaging in practices that harm consumers and stifle competition. Key focus areas include detecting bid-rigging, safeguarding the taxpayer’s annual procurement budget of €18.5 billion, and investigating competition law violations, such as price fixing and abusive behavior by dominant firms, which contribute to rising prices and reduced quality. The newly appointed Chair is also committed to upholding consumers’ rights under the Consumer Rights Act and ensuring compliance with pricing rules outlined in the Price Indication Directive.

Minister Simon Coveney expressed his delight at McHugh’s appointment, praising his extensive public sector experience and predicting that he would excel in his new role. He highlighted McHugh’s ability to guide the CCPC as it takes on an expanded role in the months and years ahead.

Before joining the CCPC in 2017, McHugh spent 15 years at Northern Ireland’s Utility Regulator, where he oversaw the regulation and protection of consumer interests in the gas, electricity, and water utility industries. During his tenure at the CCPC, he led various critical projects, including the implementation of new competition powers, merger prohibitions, private motor insurance and ticketing investigations, and research on social media influencers.

Looking ahead, McHugh expressed his excitement for the challenges and opportunities that await, emphasizing the importance of the CCPC’s growth to meet its new responsibilities. He extended his appreciation to the dedicated staff at CCPC who work tirelessly to make a positive impact through their efforts.

Source: Global Competition Review