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Minister Calleary urges public and businesses to have their say on AI

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is leading the national implementation of the EU Artificial Intelligence Act and is now seeking submissions from interested parties to guide it in this work.

The Act, which is an EU regulation, aims to protect people’s health, safety and fundamental rights. The regulation is designed to reduce the cost of compliance for business, in particular, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary TD commented:

“My department is leading the implementation of the AI Act and we want to determine the most efficient and effective structure for its implementation. We want views on how the Act might operate with existing digital markets, services, and infrastructure and to consider how it can enhance Ireland’s position as a leading Digital Economy. 

“Our national AI strategy advocates use of AI through a people-centred, ethical approach to its development, adoption, and use. How can Ireland’s implementation of the AI Act drive support and accelerate progress from each of these perspectives and what should excellence in AI Regulation look like?  We want to hear your views on these key matters to help inform how this Act and AI generally can best serve society in the years ahead.

“The ambitious timeline for implementation calls for a collective approach, and in this vein, I would encourage all interested parties to participate in this public consultation.”

The consultation document is available here: Public consultation on National Implementation of EU Harmonised Rules on Artificial Intelligence (AI Act)

Interested parties are invited to submit responses by 5pm on Tuesday, 16 July 2024.

Note for Editors

Purpose of the Act

The Artificial Intelligence Act is a regulation with direct effect, which aims to ensure that AI systems placed on the European market and used in the EU are safe and respect fundamental rights and EU values. It is designed to promote the adoption of trustworthy, human-centric AI to ensure that the EU reaps the “potential economic, environmental, and societal benefits across the entire spectrum of industries and social activities”.

The Act also aims to stimulate investment and innovation on AI. Consequently, the Act adopts a risk-based approach and focuses on applications of AI systems to ensure that the standards conformance requirements for AI systems, and the obligations on providers and deployers of such systems, are targeted and proportionate. The exception is the regulation of General Purpose AI models in relation to their potency and potential for systemic risks.

The Act provides exemptions for applications relating to national defence; national security; scientific R&D; R&D for AI systems, models; open-sourced models and for personal use. A key measure to support innovation is the requirement for Member States to establish a Regulatory Sandbox for AI. Monitoring and enforcement of the Act will take place at EU and at Member State level.

National obligations

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is leading the national implementation of the AI Act. The department is currently assessing, in conjunction with other government departments and public authorities, alternative possible approaches to national implementation to determine the optimal national structure for efficient and effective enforcement of the provisions of the Act. 

The Act requires Member States to provide for the supervision and enforcement of the Act at national level and sets a demanding timetable for national implementation after it enters into force. Some of the key measures include:

  • Prohibitions on prohibited AI systems to come into effect within 6 months
  • Member States must designate a Notifying Authority and Market Surveillance Authority/Authorities, including a Single Point of Contact, within 12 months
  • Enforcement measures and penalties must be in place within 12 months
  • At least one operational Regulatory Sandbox must be established in each Member State to support innovation, within 24 months
  • All competent authorities must be fully operational within 24 months 

Further information

Regulation laying down harmonised rules on artificial intelligence (artificial intelligence act), 21 May 2024 (PDF, 1.56MB)