The Irish Government published its Autumn Legislative Programme on 26 September and the eagerly awaited Digital Services Bill (the DSB) is included as one of the 27 bills to be prioritised for publication this session. This is somewhat unsurprising given that the DSB was previously listed in the Government’s Summer Legislative Programme as a bill to prioritise. However, there is one interesting contrast between the descriptions of the DSB provided in the Government’s Summer and Autumn Programmes.
The Autumn Programme describes the purpose of the DSB as:
“To implement Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 on a Single Market for Digital Services (otherwise known as the Digital Services Act) including to designate Coimisiún na Meán (the Media Commission) as the competent authority (the Digital Services Coordinator) for Ireland and to designate the CCPC as a Competent Authority for elements of the DSA related to online marketplaces.”
The description of the DSB in the Summer Programme is almost identical, but does not include the underlined language, referencing the designation of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).
The Appendix to the General Heads of Bill of the DSB, published last March, indicated an intention on the part of the Government to divide the responsibilities of designated competent authorities under the DSA between more regulators than just the Coimisiún na Meán (CnaM). Some commenters had speculated that the CCPC might be a likely candidate for such a role. However, the Heads of Bill themselves do not reference the CCPC or any other regulator besides CnaM. Nor did the Heads discuss any specific elements of DSA regulation that would fall outside the purview of CnaM.
The Legislative Programme is, of course, in no way binding and the DSB still has a number of steps to pass through before its text is finalised. However, the description does provide some insight into the Government’s current thinking on transposing the DSA to Irish law – namely that the CCPC should operate as the regulator for those elements of the DSA relating to online marketplaces.
We will continue to closely monitor the progression of the DSB and provide updates on all major developments.
If you would like further information on this topic, please contact A&L Goodbody’s Commercial & Technology team.