I use the excellent KildareStreet.com to keep in touch with what’s being said in the Dail that’s related to the area of interest for this website – i.e. consumer affairs. (I’ve written about the site a few times before – see here).
It was a regular question from members of the opposition during the last Dail to ask Fianna Fail / Green ministers when the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority merger was going to actually go ahead.
This merger was announced first in the 2009 budget (way back in October 2008), but nothing has been done to progress this merger since. I wrote about this previous, guessing that it’s a merger that wasn’t welcomed by the Competition Authority in particular.
As an example of the previous opposition questioning, back in October 2010, Joe McHugh TD (FG -Donegal NE) asked the following question:
To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation his views on the changes in the organisation structures and delivery of back office support which have been made since the announcement of the merger of the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority; the values of the savings made; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The then Minister responsible, Batt O’Keefe TD didn’t answer the question directly, merely filling space and time with a non-statement.
We’ve now been treated to a new government and thankfully, a new opposition, yet we’re still getting the same questions asked, and not answered.
On the 20th of April, Willie O’Dea TD (FF – Limerick City) asked the following question of the Taoiseach:
When can we expect to see the consumer and competition Bill that will merge the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency?
To which, Enda Kenny responded (or not really):
I cannot give the Deputy an accurate answer. We do not yet have a date for the Bill’s introduction. I shall report its progress as it moves through the system.
I think it’s enormously disappointing how poor Fine Gael have been in Government since they’ve taken over. They had such a great opportunity (in so many ways) to show they were different from Fianna Fail, yet they’ve shown nothing to prove that they’re any different in any way.