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Ministers welcome adoption of EU Artificial Intelligence (AI Act) - public consultation launched on implementation

The AI Act was adopted at the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (Telecoms Council) attended by Minister of State, Ossian Smyth today and is expected to enter into force next month.  

The Act, which is an EU regulation, aims to protect people’s health, safety and fundamental rights, while simultaneously promoting the adoption of trustworthy, human-centric AI. A key objective is to ensure that the EU remains competitive for AI investment and innovation by adopting a risk-based approach and focusing on applications of AI systems to ensure that the conformance requirements for AI systems, and the obligation on providers and deployers of such systems, are targeted and proportionate.  

The obligations under the Act will be phased in over a period of 36 months, with the key obligations in place within 24 months. 

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

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Peter Burke TD, said: 

“The EU AI Act is a highly significant regulation which strikes an important balance between boosting innovation and supporting the adoption of artificial intelligence technologies, while also ensuring that this takes place in an ethical and responsible way. As the first such regulation in the world, it will likely set the standard for AI regulation in other jurisdictions. 

“An ambitious timeline has been agreed in relation to the obligations set out under this Act, and a public consultation is being launched today to ensure all voices are heard. I would urge all interested parties to participate.” 

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

“The AI Act is a hugely significant piece of legislation and the first of its kind, ensuring AI systems will be used in a trustworthy and ethical manner to protect individuals’ rights while harnessing the benefits that this technology brings. I look forward to rich engagement with our stakeholders during this consultation process.” 


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. 

Governance structure 

The European Commission has commenced work on the EU-level governance structure. It established the AI Office under DG CNECT in February 2024. The AI Office will be responsible for discharging the Commission’s functions in relation to the implementation, monitoring and supervision of AI systems and general-purpose AI models and responsibilities under the Act. The AI Office will be supported by a scientific panel of independent experts. 

An AI Board comprising Member States’ representatives, will act as an advisory body to the Commission, and advise on the design of codes of practice for foundation models. An AI Committee will also be set up and responsible for adopting Commission implementing acts. 

Information on Commission decision establishing the European AI Office 

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


The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is holding a public consultation on the national implementation process and options available to it, which is open to all stakeholders, including enterprise and civil society organisations.  

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

Consultation document: Public consultation on National Implementation of EU Harmonised Rules on Artificial Intelligence (AI Act)

Further information 

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

A Digital Future for Europe  AI

AI – Here for Good, Ireland’s National AI Strategy