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Minister Coveney announces the commencement of the Digital Services Act 2024

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD, signed the order to commence the Digital Services Act 2024 last Friday. This legislation formally designates and empowers Coimisiún na Meán as the Irish Digital Services Coordinator and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission as a competent authority for online marketplaces under the EU Digital Services Regulation.

Announcing the commencement, Minister Coveney said:

“Enactment and commencement of this legislation has been a priority for me since the Digital Services Regulation was adopted by the EU at the end of 2022. The aim of this regulation is to protect consumers online, make it easier to find and remove illegal content and safeguard the fundamental rights of users – including freedom of expression. 

“I am proud that we were one of the first member states to identify and resource our Digital Services Coordinator and Coimisiún na Meán has been preparing for this day since early last year. I wish both Coimisiún na Meán and the CCPC well in the task ahead. The first meeting of the European Board for Digital Services takes place today in Brussels and our Digital Services Commissioner Mr John Evans will attend alongside his counterparts from other member states and the European Commission.  I look forward to seeing the impact of the work they will undertake over the years to come.”

On the announcement, Minister Calleary said:

“The Digital Services Act provides the legal basis for the effective implementation of the EU Digital Services Regulation in a balanced and proportionate manner. Earlier this month I announced the passage of this legislation through the final stages of the Houses of the Oireachtas so I now very much welcome its enactment.  Ireland stands ready to play its part in the regulation of the online world.“

The Digital Services Act 2024 provides Coimisiún na Meán and the CCPC with the necessary powers to carry out investigations and take enforcement actions, including the imposition of significant financial penalties for non-compliance. As the Digital Services Coordinator, Coimisiún na Meán is the single point of contact, with lead responsibility for all matters to do with the EU Regulation in Ireland, including coordination across the EU, handling complaints, communications, supervision, investigation, and enforcement.

Minister Coveney added:

“I consider the EU Digital Services Regulation to be a pioneering and innovative step in regulating the online world as never before.  Last Saturday was its official kick-off, when the national regulators got their powers across Europe and all providers in scope of the regulation must fulfil their obligations.

As many of the most popular platforms and search engines have their EU headquarters here, Ireland has a leading part to play in a new European framework of Digital Services Coordinators, and as a co-regulator with the European Commission.  I have been robust in pledging Ireland’s commitment to fulfilling our responsibilities and meeting the expectations that come from this position. The support extends across government, with a core commitment in our national digital strategy to a cohesive and well-resourced network of regulators.”


Note for editors:

Digital Services Act (Commencement) Order 2024

On Friday 16 February, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD, signed the order to commence the Digital Services Act 2024 effective from 17 February 2024. It was signed into law by the President on 11 February.

The Act designates Coimisiún na Meán as the Digital Services Coordinator and lead competent authority for the Digital Services Act. It also designates the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) as a competent authority, with specific responsibility for online marketplaces. The Act also provides the authorities with the necessary powers for supervision and enforcement of the DSA, including, the ability to impose administrative fines and penalties.

The government allocated €2.7 million in 2023 to support the establishment of the Digital Services Coordinator function within Coimisiún na Meán. For 2024, it has allocated a total of €6 million to complete preparations and recruitment for the Digital Services Coordinator function and to support initial operations after 17 February.

EU Digital Services Regulation

The EU Digital Services Regulation, Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on a Single Market for Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (Digital Services Act), applies in full in all Member States from 17 February 2024.

The EU Digital Services Regulation establishes clear and proportionate rules to protect consumers and their fundamental rights online, whilst simultaneously fostering innovation, growth and competitiveness, and facilitating the scaling up of smaller platforms, SMEs and start-ups. It aims to rebalance the responsibilities of users, platforms, and public authorities according to European values, placing citizens at the centre.

The EU Regulation introduces rules for online Intermediary Service Providers (ISPs). These include providers of network infrastructure; internet access; domain name registrars; cloud and web-hosting services; platforms bringing together sellers and consumers such as online marketplaces and app stores; and social media platforms.

Although the EU Regulation has direct legal effect in EU Member States and consequently its provisions and obligations apply directly to online Intermediary Services Providers (ISPs), it was necessary to have national legislation to implement those provisions of the EU Regulation that provide for the supervision and enforcement of those obligations. The Digital Services Act 2024 fulfils Ireland’s obligations in this regard.