The National Consumer Agency (NCA) is a statutory body established by the Irish Government in May 2007. It aims to defend consumer interests and to embed a robust consumer culture in Ireland.
In March 2010, the consumer financial services related information and education function previously under the responsibility of the Financial Regulator was transferred to the NCA, offering a one-stop shop service on consumer information and education issues in the Irish economy.
The NCA and the Central Bank of Ireland have signed a framework agreement which came into effect on 1 February 2011, on the performance of their respective functions in so far as they relate to issues of consumer protection and welfare. Download the Co-operation Agreement (MS Word, 28KB)
The Central Bank of Ireland remains responsible for information on central bank operations and financial sector regulation. For more information visit FinancialRegulator.ie and CentralBank.ie
A strong mandate
The Government has given the NCA a very strong mandate to defend and promote consumer rights through:
- Forceful advocacy, targeted research, consumer information, education, and awareness programmes
- The systematic enforcement of consumer law
The Agency was established by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment in response to the publication of a 2005 report by the Consumer Strategy Group entitled: Make Consumers Count. This identified important deficiencies in the protection and promotion of consumer rights in Ireland.
- Represents the voice of the consumer
- Enforces consumer legislation
- Defends consumer interests at the highest levels of national and local decision-making
As a consumer advocate and a defender of consumer rights, the NCA has an important role in working with businesses, to help them to support compliance with regulatory obligations and to encourage best practice as regards consumer rights.
Designated officers of the NCA work alongside business and representative organisations to promote awareness of consumer issues and to enforce consumer law.
What we do
Our work is divided into five main functions:
Competition Authority and consumers
In the October 2008 Budget, the Minister for Finance announced plans to amalgamate the NCA and the Competition Authority, the agency responsible for enforcing Irish and European competition law.
Competition law is primarily designed to protect and benefit consumers, who have a right to purchase goods and services at a competitive price. Greater competition provides good value for consumers, stimulates business and enhances the economy as a whole.
Anti-competitive behaviour by businesses, such as price fixing, results in consumers paying higher prices without any extra benefits, and undermines the Irish economy's competitiveness.
The commencement date for the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 is 31 October 2014.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission will have a dual mandate to enforce competition and consumer law. Both organisations continue to perform their statutory functions until the merger is given effect on 31 October 2014.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission will be governed by an executive Chair and Membership structure. The Act allows for a Chair and between two and six Members.
The current Chair of the Competition Authority, Isolde Goggin, was appointed designate Chair of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission on taking up her current role in 2011. Ms Goggin will be supported in her role by the Members of the new Commission which include the three current Members of the Competition Authority, Stephen Calkins, Gerald FitzGerald and Patrick Kenny, and the current Chief Executive of the National Consumer Agency, Karen O'Leary, all of whom were appointed Members-designate of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innnovation upon taking up their current positions.
Read about the National Consumer Agency's background
Find out about the NCA's board
Visit the Competition Authority's website