Friday 9 December 2016

Supermac's and ABP join the ranks of Irish lobbyists pressing Brussels for change

Published 24/01/2016 | 02:30

Pat McDonagh of Supermac’s inside the O’Connell Street, Dublin, branch of the Irish takeaway. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Pat McDonagh of Supermac’s inside the O’Connell Street, Dublin, branch of the Irish takeaway. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Supermac's, beef processor ABP and proposed liquefied natural-gas plant Shannon LNG all spent thousands on EU lobbying activities last year.

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The three companies are among the newest Irish entrants on the EU's Transparency Register, which records which companies and organisations are pushing for their interests at EU level.

Signing up to the register is voluntary; these companies did not need to reveal their EU lobbying activities but chose to for transparency reasons.

Pat McDonagh's Supermac's Holding Limited signed up to the register in September 2015.

Supermac's pursuit of an EU-wide trademark of its brand is the main activity it is involved in at EU level, the company reported. It spent less than €9,999 on this annually, it said.

Fast-food rival McDonald's has opposed Supermac's European trademark efforts, lodging its objections with the EU's Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market. McDonald's objects in part because it believes the 'mac' in 'Supermac's' infringes on its own brand.

Larry Goodman's meat processing business ABP Foods signed up to the transparency register in March. Its main priority at EU level is European food policy, ABP said. It spends less than €9,999 on this annually, the register said.

Shannon LNG, the company which planned to build a gas terminal at Ballylongford in Kerry, spends significantly more.

Shannon LNG spent about €350,000 in 2014 on EU lobbying activities, it reported when it joined the register in May of last year. Its EU work is focused on the topic of EU "Projects of Common Interest", it said. These are EU energy-infrastructure projects which are designated as strategically important, and are eligible for EU funding.

Shannon LNG's planned Kerry gas terminal was included on the Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list late last year. If completed, the terminal would import cheap gas from the US before distributing it through Ireland's network and on to other markets.

The €600m project has had a difficult history; construction has been delayed for several years and reports suggest its owner, US oil giant Hess, wants to sell. Hess is thought to have spent more than €60m on the project already. Its new status as a PCI should make the asset more attractive to buyers.

Shannon LNG also lobbied on the EU gas directive, it said.

Other Irish organisations signed up to the Transparency Register include the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association and the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland.

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