Boston v. Berlin: a half century of Irish antitrust
Although she was responsible for competition policy at the time, it would not appear that the Tanaiste’s remarks quoted above were specific to that area. Yet an analysis of the history and evolution of Irish competition policy over its sixty-year history shows that it has oscillated between the US and EU models. Competition and merger control legislation in Ireland predated similar provisions in many other European countries. Ireland’s original antitrust legislation, the Restrictive Trade Practices Act (RTPA), was enacted in 1953. Merger controls were first introduced in 1978, while many EU Member States had no domestic merger control legislation before the introduction of the EU Merger Regulation in 1990. This chapter argues, however, that for much of its history competition policy has tended to play a subservient role to industrial policy type considerations, and political rhetoric favouring competition was generally not matched by effective action.