Unlicensed auctioneers operating throughout the State, Seanad told

Number of prosecutions already before the courts in the Dublin area, Minister says

Minister of State for Justice Aodhan Ó Riordáin said a register of lincensees was maintained on the PSRA website.  Photograph: Frank Miller

Minister of State for Justice Aodhan Ó Riordáin said a register of lincensees was maintained on the PSRA website. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

A number of unlicensed auctioneers are operating throughout the State, Fine Gael’s Senator Paul Coghlan has said.

Mr Coghlan told the Seanad the matter had been brought to his attention by the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers.

“A recent article featured in the Irish Farmers’ Journal alleged a number of marts do not have licensed auctioneers,” he added.

“I understand they are able to advertise freely alongside licensed auctioneers and the public are unaware of their unlicensed status.”

Mr Coghlan said he had also been told that auctioneers from Northern Ireland were operating in some of the Border counties.

This was disturbing, he added, given that the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) had been in existence for three years.

Minister of State for Justice Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said a number of prosecutions had already been before the courts in the Dublin area. The Minister for Justice had been informed that two cases had so far resulted in convictions and more were pending, he added.

He said the PSRA, which had been established on a statutory basis in 2012, was independent in the performance of its functions.

A key role was to set and enforce standards in the provision of property services by service providers who were auctioneers of all types, estate agents, letting agents and property management agents, he added.

Mr Ó Ríordáin said the 2011 Act provided for the licensing of all companies and individuals engaged in the provision of property services.

There were more than 4,000 companies and individuals licensed to provide services, he said, adding that a publicly visible register of licensees was maintained on the PSRA website.

Under the Act, it was an offence to provide a property service, or purport to be available to provide it, unless the person was appropriately licensed, said Mr Ó Ríordáin. A company or person who contravened the Act was liable to a fine or imprisonment, or both, he added.