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Coalition challenged to reduce fees for professions

THE Government was last night told to act on existing advice to cut professional fees, instead of commissioning more reports.

The Consumers Association of Ireland chairman James Doorley said no more reports are needed as plenty already exist but have not been implemented.

The Competition Authority has published 11 reports in the last 10 years outlining what needs to be done to boost competition and cut fees for doctors, solicitors, dentists, architects, and other professions.

Tanaiste Mary Coughlan announced this week that yet another report would be drawn up by the end of the year on what had to be done. But Mr Doorley said existing recommendations were still on ice.



Recommendations

"We don't need another report or to wait until the end of the year. All the government has to do is implement the existing recommendations of the Competition Authority," said Mr Doorley.

Tanaiste and Enterprise Minister Mary Coughlan said this week that competition policy was crucial to tackling "excessive costs in the non-traded sectors" which includes many services performed by professionals.

Ms Coughlan said the Competition Authority had issued a number of reports on areas such as engineers, architects, the legal profession, dentists, and others.

She said implementing these was "essential to remove competitiveness bottlenecks in the economy and to deliver better value and more innovation in these sectors".

"It is my intention to submit a report to government before the end of the year outlining the progress achieved on the implementation of these prioritised recommendations," she said.

But Mr Doorley said: "If you look at the recommendation passed to government departments the vast majority have not yet been progressed.

"The professional bodies need to act, but government departments have a very poor record to date of implementation."

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