of the Director of Consumer Affairs-an independent
statutory office, responsible for providing advice and
information to consumers and for the enforcement of a wide range
of consumer protection laws.
Office appears to be showing some teeth in recent
times in response to public concern about
profiteering and Ireland's ranking as one of the
most expensive countries in Europe.
An illustration of
of how much needs to be done to bring consumer protection in
Ireland into the modern world was provided in April 2004 when
two publicans were fined for breaching the requirement to
display prices on their premises. The Judge imposed the maximum
fine of €125 in respect of each count plus €240 in costs.
The Director of
Consumer Affairs welcomed the Court’s decision. Carmel Foley
said: “by imposing the maximum penalty allowed under the Prices
Act 1958, the court is giving a clear signal that failure to
comply with the Drinks Display Order is a serious matter. I have
major concerns, however, that the maximum fine which can be
imposed does not reflect the seriousness of the breach of the
legislation. This is not a deterrent to publicans. I have,
therefore, asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade
and Employment to urgently address this issue with a view to
raising the limit to bring it into line with that of the new
Product Prices legislation where the maximum fine on summary
conviction is €3,000."