The Anti – Competition Authority

Competition is a very simple concept to understand.

You either have competition or you haven’t.

When we joined Europe all competition for Irish products and small Irish companies was removed practically over night. Our punt devalued by 100% instantly. That is why today we have nearly all the products coming in here from all over the world and almost all our manufacturing removed from us. We are  merely living to buy foreign products in every shop in the country, mostly from China and the UK.

Why would a country need a competition authority? You would think it would be to ensure healthy competition in trade but that is not what has gone on in Ireland or in the whole of Europe for that matter, quite the opposite in fact.

Lets give a couple of examples of what is happening here.

Shopping centres blocking out nearly all small local business from trading in the centres. If you have a small business and try to get a unit in one of the big shopping centres either full time or part time you will be first asked what are you selling and if one of the sitting tenants are selling something similar, you will not be allowed into the center. Now they may only be selling the product you are selling in a small section of the huge store but still you will be kept out.

This is illegal according to competition law.

You either have competition or you have not competition.

You will not be trading in these centres that is why you see very few small local businesses ever trading in these centres. You can write to the so called Competition Authority and they will send you back some load of waffle they have already prepared for you and give you the run around, but you will not be trading in these centres. This is totally anti competitive. They have filing cabinets full of complaints from small businesses in this situation.

If you have true competition there can be no restrictions in who should be able to trade what ever product they wish where ever they wish and most especially local products and local businesses. Shopping center owners according to competition law have no right to prevent you from trading your product, but they will stop you. The competition Authority will back them up, most small businesses can’t afford to take legal action against them.

There is the argument that they need variety of businesses trading in  the certres, true enough but legally they cannot stop another business selling similar products from trading there, but they do that all the time, it is anti competitive. This actually stops variety by keeping out all the local businesses.

Your product may be local to your area and the products selling in the shops in the center may be coming from China or elsewhere, but nevertheless  you will be kept out. There is no loyalty anymore by the owners of these to the country where they trade, it is all about foreign products.

But they may honor you by leaving  you standing  in the cold in a stall one day a week outside the centres. All the local Irish business trade outside in the streets while mostly big  foreign owned companies trade inside the center. This is actually discriminatory as well as being  anti competitive.

This is competition according to European Law which in most cases when it comes to small local businesses in Ireland it is actually anti competition law. It is competitive if it suits the European Community to say it is or it isn’t. Which is not a competitive legal way of doing business. There is no protection for small businesses against this in Ireland, no one to fight their corner. So what are all the businesses associations doing about it, nothing.

Here is another instance of this: An Post – This company was set up here in Ireland to take care of our postal service. Instead of that it has been so badly run due to bad management,  it has nearly had to close, with a 28% hike in stamps lately. It is a company with absolutely no focus or guidance whatsoever. It has in fact gone into competition with its own customers.

For instance if you are in the printing business you have to compete with An Post they too have gone into the printing business now as well. They don’t do the printing themselves, they have it subbed out. So one company is coining while all others are blown out.

There is no way you as a printing company can provide the same service at the same price as this monopoly company. They can provide the design, printing, distribution for less than a euro for one of their products. But they wer never set up to provide printing services, they are in competition with all the printers in the country. But all the printers in Ireland have to use their service for postage either directly or indirect to do  here in Ireland.

But the stamp alone would cost your company a Euro.  So why should they be able to do this? It is totally anti competitive, a breach of trading principles. This is not what this company was set up to do. Write to the Competition Authority about this if you like, again they will write back to you with a complete load of prepared waffle, another filing cabinets full of complaints. This is monopoly unfair trading.

So here you have a company that was set up to do a particular service for our country and what do we get? They going into competition with their own customers? It has been so badly managed it has  cost the Irish people millions in stamp and delivery prices rises because they could not focus to do the job they were set up to do. They have now gone into financial and other services, going into competition with more of the customers who buy stamps and other services from them.

We are faced as a nation with post office closures all over the country because of years of bad government and internal An Post management.

So the question is this, what is the real role of the Competition Authority? Were they actually set up to allow this type of anti competition in trade here in Ireland, to destroy small Irish businesses? It sure looks that way. If a Government allows a country like China to take over most  Irish trade, that is not competitive trading. If it allows all manufacturing to be sent out of the country, that is not competitive trading either. It is detriment to a small country like Ireland.

This article could go on and on with a long list of examples of no competition for businesses in Ireland. If you have a particular story to tell please write to us.

You either have competition or you have not

It is that simple.

Most of the time in Ireland, we have not.

The Anti – Competition Authority
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