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DSA: What's happening on the ground in Ireland?

What is the latest news?

This week, the Irish Digital Services Act 2024 (Irish DSA) formally entered into law to give further effect to the EU’s Digital Services Act (EU DSA) and to provide for other related matters.  Among the first countries in the EU to do so, the Irish DSA officially empowers Coimisiún Na Meán (which is the name of the new Irish Media Commission) to supervise and enforce the EU DSA, including by imposing administrative fines and penalties.  The Coimisiún Na Meán will also act as the Irish Digital Services Coordinator (DSC) and coordinate with other DSCs in the EU. 

In broad terms, the Irish DSA marks another step in a continuing trend of more robust rules for digital platforms.  Given Ireland’s preferred location for platforms in the Technology and Media sectors, we expect to see Coimisiún Na Meán play a key enforcement role in the evolving EU regulatory landscape. 

How is Ireland progressing relative to its counterparts?

An early adopter for now.  The Irish Government announced that it was one of the first EU Member States to appoint its DSC.  Indeed, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment stated the Irish DSC was scheduled to attend the first meeting of the European Board for Digital Services (taking place in Brussels on Monday) and claims to have allocated sufficient resources to the DSC to effectively perform its role.  Other Ministers noted that Ireland is determined to play a pivotal role in EU DSA enforcement claiming that ‘Ireland stands ready to play its part in the regulation of the online world’.  Arguably, due to the presence of major tech and social media platforms, this narrative is stressed to counter (previous) claims that regulators were formerly slow to regulate firms located in Ireland, particularly in the realm of GDPR. 

What can we expect from Coimisiún Na Meán?

Similar to the maturing role of the Irish Data Protection Commission’s role under the GDPR, it appears that Coimisiún Na Meán is embracing its role under the Irish DSA.  John Evans, the Digital Services Commissioner, will formally assume responsibility under the Irish DSA to: 

  • Enforce the Irish DSA, including developing certification procedures for trusted flagger status,
  • Represent Ireland on the European Board of Digital Services, 
  • Develop relationships with Digital Services Coordinators in other EU Member States, and
  • Cooperate with the European Commission in relation to the Irish DSA.

Coimisiún Na Meán has also opened a dedicated user contact centre this week.  This is designed to enable the public to raise concerns relating to content online and will allow Coimisiún Na Meán to directly guide and advise users. 

Will Coimisiún Na Meán manage multiple roles?

Yes.  Along with its role as Irish DSC, Coimisiún Na Meán is also responsible for the enforcement of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act (2022) – a major piece of Irish legislation that implements the AVMS Directive (2018), regulates the broadcasting sector and, most ambitiously, empowers Coimisiún Na Meán to adopt an Online Safety Code regime to apply to certain online services operating in Ireland. 

After an initial call for input, Coimisiún Na Meán opened a short public consultation on the first draft of the Online Safety Code which closed on 31 January 2024.  The consultation focused on binding rules for video sharing platforms services (VSPS). Key themes emerging include the extent to which VSPS will be obliged to adopt age verification measures, parental controls, adapt recommender systems, and enhance content moderation mechanisms to meet enhanced measures in Irish law to sanction harmful online content. A response from Coimisiún Na Meán to the output of the public consultation is eagerly awaited.  

At the same time, Coimisiún Na Meán is also embroiled in its first litigation in the Irish High Court as it deals with, at present, two challenges from online platforms (Reddit and Tumblr) who have sought to judicially review their designation by Coimisiún Na Meán as VSPS subject to the Online Safety Code. This is happening against a European backdrop, where online platforms are challenging their ‘Very Large Online Platform’ status (which we considered previously here). 

Finally, on top of the above roles, Coimisiún Na Meán was formally designated as the competent authority for the Terrorist Content Online Regulation – see our previous post.  

How can you keep up-to-date on developments across the EU and UK? 

Along with actively monitoring developments on the ground in Ireland for clients, alongside our colleagues in 32 DLA Piper offices across the EU and UK, we are monitoring the latest updates on DSA activity in key EU Member States and the UK. 

Our DSA Tracker can be accessed here.


digital services act, dsa, media, europe