No faith in Competition Authority to enforce unfair trading laws, warns IFA

IFA President Joe Healy
IFA President Joe Healy

The IFA will oppose any future role for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in the enforcement of EU regulations under the Unfair Trading Practices legislation, writes Declan O'Brien.

The new regulations are aimed at ensuring fairer trading practices for the primary producer in the food supply chain.

However, IFA president Joe Healy said the CCPC was not trusted by farmers and he called for a "properly resourced" entity to enforce the regulations.

"Farmers do not have faith in the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to carry out this work. The enforcement authority, which will have powers to investigate complaints and levy fines, will have to be a properly resourced, independent office," Mr Healy said.

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The IFA has called on the Government to appoint a retail ombudsman who will have strong independent oversight and regulation of the sector, similar to the role carried out by the UK Groceries Code Adjudicator.

"There is provision for an independent retail regulator in the legislation, but this has to be transposed into Irish law," said Mr Healy.

"IFA has worked on this at European level and insisted there would have to be an independent enforcement authority in Ireland."

Mr Healy said IFA will be making a detailed submission to the public consultation set up by the Department of Agriculture to transpose the EU legislation into Irish law.

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The CCPC has a history of run-ins with the farm organisations, the latest of which followed its insistence that cattle prices could not be discussed during talks between the beef processors and farmer bodies that ultimately ended the recent factory blockades.

Meanwhile, a conference entitled 'Getting Fairness for Farmers in the Food Chain' is part of IFA's campaign to ensure greater transparency and fairness for farmers. It takes place in the Radisson BLU Hotel in Dublin Airport on Tuesday, November 5.

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