Sinn Féin demands probe into ‘unfair practices’ in the agri-food industry

Sinn Féin Calls for Agri-Food Regulator to Investigate Anti-Competitive Practices and Possible Price Gouging in Retail Sector

Sinn Féin is calling for the new agri-food regulator to have the power to investigate anti-competitive practices in the agri-food supply chain. The party is also urging the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to investigate possible price gouging in the retail food and grocery sector. A private members’ motion on Food Costs and Rising Grocery Bills will be brought to the Dáil for debate next week, on Tuesday, May 9. The party is asking the government to ensure supermarkets and large food retailers pass on savings made from falling input costs to consumers through lower grocery prices. The motion will also highlight the financial pressure that “unsustainably high grocery and food bills” put on workers and families.

The Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill 2022, which aims to establish the legal framework to create Ireland’s first agri-food regulator, will also be voted on in the Dáil next week, a day after the Sinn Féin motion. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has promised that the regulator will be “an office with real teeth that will be a strong advocate for farmers, fishers, and all producers”. The new legislation could see fines of up to €10 million or 10% of aggregate turnover being imposed on organisations that are “non-compliant”. However, some TDs are questioning if the agri-food regulator will have sufficient powers. Clare TD Michael McNamara has warned that the only powers the regulator will have “is to collect, analyse and regularly publish reports on price and market data relating to the agricultural and food supply chain”.

The Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Business, Neale Richmond, has indicated that the government will hold a meeting of the Retail Forum next week, which includes many of the country’s major retailers, including representatives from Tesco Ireland, Musgraves, and IBEC’s Retail Ireland. According to Minister Richmond, one of the key issues for discussion will be current grocery prices in Ireland and why prices have not fallen. Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Louise O’Reilly said that “inflation in Irish supermarkets is at the highest level ever recorded by retail analysts Kantar across the past 12 months, with the 12-week period to April 16 alone showing the rate of food inflation at 16.6%.” She added that “the escalating costs now facing households across the state is completely unsustainable and something has to give. That requires government intervention. But we have seen no sense of the urgency required by the government to deal with any of these issues.”

Categories: Agriculture