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RESTRICTIVE TRADE PRACTICES ACT, 1953
The Fair Trade Commission.
1.—(1) The permanent members of the Commission shall consist of a chairman and not less than two and not more than four other members. They shall be appointed by the Minister.
(2) Whenever it appears to the Minister that a permanent member is temporarily unable to discharge his duties, the Minister may appoint a temporary member to act in his place during such inability or for such shorter period as the Minister thinks proper.
(3) The Minister may also appoint additional temporary members.
2.—(1) The term of office of a permanent member shall be fixed by the Minister when appointing him and shall not exceed five years.
(2) An outgoing permanent member shall be eligible for re-appointment.
(3) Each member shall hold office on such conditions as may be fixed by the Minister after consultation with the Minister for Finance.
(4) A member may be paid such remuneration as the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, determines.
(5) The Civil Service Regulation Acts, 1924 and 1926, shall not apply to the office of member.
Restriction on interested person acting as member.
3.—If a member is personally interested in a particular matter with which the Commission is dealing, he shall inform the Minister accordingly and shall not act as a member during the consideration of the matter, unless the Minister, being of opinion that his interest is not such as to interfere with the impartial performance of his duties, authorises him to act.
Removals, resignation and disqualification.
4.—(1) The Minister may remove from office a member who has become incapable through ill-health of performing efficiently his duties as such member or whose removal appears to the Minister to be necessary in the interests of the effective and economical performance of the functions of the Commission.
(2) Where the Minister removes a member from office he shall lay before each House of the Oireachtas a statement in writing of the reasons for such removal.
(3) A member may resign his office.
(4) Where a member of the Commission becomes a member of either House of the Oireachtas, he shall, upon his becoming entitled under the Standing Orders of that House to sit therein, cease to be a member of the Commission.
(5) A person who is for the time being entitled under the Standing Orders of either House of the Oireachtas to sit therein shall be disqualified from being a member of the Commission.
(6) A member shall be disqualified for holding and shall cease to hold office if he is adjudged bankrupt, or makes a composition or arrangement with his creditors, or is sentenced by a court of competent jurisdiction to suffer imprisonment or penal servitude or ceases to be ordinarily resident in the State.
5.—(1) The quorum for a meeting of the Commission shall be two permanent members unless the Minister otherwise directs.
(2) The Commission may act notwithstanding vacancies in their membership.
(3) The Commission may regulate their own procedure.
Power of Commission to summon witnesses, etc.
6.—(1) The Commission may for the purposes of their functions do all or any of the following things:—
(a) summon witnesses to attend before them,
(b) examine on oath (which any member is hereby authorised to administer) the witnesses attending before them,
(c) require any such witness to produce to the Commission any document in his power or control.
(2) A witness before the Commission shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he were a witness before the High Court.
(3) A summons shall be signed by at least one member.
(4) If any person—
(a) on being duly summoned as a witness before the Commission makes default in attending, or
(b) being in attendance as a witness refuses to take an oath legally required by the Commission to be taken, or to produce any document in his power or control legally required by the Commission to be produced by him, or to answer any question to which the Commission may legally require an answer, or
(c) does any other thing which would, if the Commission were a court of justice, having power to commit for contempt of court, be contempt of such court,
the Commission may certify the offence of that person under their hands to the High Court and the court may, after such inquiry as it thinks proper to make, punish or take steps for the punishment of that person in like manner as if he had been guilty of contempt of that court.
(5) In this paragraph references to the Commission shall be construed as including references to a member or members holding an enquiry under section 7.
Notice of enquiry and submissions by interested persons.
7.—(1) The Commission shall cause to be published in such manner as they think fit notice of their intention to hold an enquiry.
(2) Any person may make a submission to the Commission in the manner prescribed by their rules in relation to the subject matter of an enquiry.
Inspection of premises and obtaining of information.
8.—(1) In this paragraph, “authorised officer” means a person authorised in writing by the Commission for the purposes of this paragraph.
(2) The authorisation of an authorised officer shall indicate the matters in respect of which he may act under this paragraph.
(3) For the purpose of obtaining the information necessary for the exercise by the Minister or the Commission of any function under this Act, an authorised officer is hereby authorised, on production of his authorisation, if so required—
(a) at all reasonable times to enter premises at which any activity in connection with the business of supplying or distributing goods or in connection with the organisation or assistance of persons engaged in any such business is carried on and to inspect the premises;
(b) to require the person who carries on such activity and any person employed in connection therewith to produce to the officer any books, documents or records relating to such activity which are in that person's power or control and to give him such information as he may reasonably require in regard to any entries in such books, documents and records;
(c) to inspect and copy or take extracts from such books, documents and records;
(d) to require such a person to give to the officer any information he may require in regard to the persons carrying on such activity (including, in particular, in the case of an unincorporated body of persons, information in regard to the membership thereof and of its committee of management or other controlling authority) or employed in connection therewith;
(e) to require such a person to give to the officer any information which the officer may reasonably require in regard to such activity.
(4) A person who obstructs or impedes an authorised officer in the exercise of a power or does not comply with a requirement under this section shall be guilty of an offence.
Prohibition of disclosure of confidential information.
9.—(1) No person shall disclose information available to him by virtue of the powers of obtaining information conferred by this Act or through being present at a meeting of the Commission held in private.
(2) Subparagraph (1) of this paragraph does not apply to—
(a) a communication made by a member of the Commission or authorised officer in the execution of his duties under this Act, or
(b) the disclosure of information in a report of the Commission or for the purpose of legal proceedings under this Act.
(3) If any person contravenes this paragraph he shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or, at the discretion of the Court, to both such fine and imprisonment.
Officers and servants.
10.—(1) The Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may appoint such officers and servants as he thinks necessary to assist the Commission in the performance of their functions.
(2) The officers and servants so appointed shall hold office on such terms and receive such remuneration as the Minister for Finance determines.
11.—The Commission shall, as soon as may be after the end of each year, make to the Minister a report of their proceedings during the year and the Minister shall lay the report before each House of the Oireachtas.