Govt to sign off on new Consumer watchdog

The Government is to sign off this week on a beefed up authority to protect the rights of consumers.

Legislation establishing the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is to go before tomorrow's Cabinet meeting.

The new commission will see the merging of the Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority.

The aim is to set up a watchdog that has real teeth to tackle abuses in the system.

It will be able to use criminal investigation powers to clamp down on offences like price-fixing and other serious competition problems.

Other features of the commission, according to the Irish Independent, include its ability to use detention periods more effectively when someone is being questioned about a possible offence, and to protect whistleblowing employees who hand over information to investigators.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton is to bring the legislation to cabinet tomorrow.

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