IFA presidential candidate Joe Healy has called on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to investigate if Irish retailers are dealing in a fair and transparent manner with suppliers.
The call comes in the wake of findings by the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) in Britain, Christine Tacon, which found that Tesco had deliberately delayed payments to suppliers to boost profits.
“I would like to know if the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission here in Ireland is launching a similar investigation into the activities of retailers here to see if similar practices are employed,” Mr Healy said.
“Ultimately, the actions of retailers – leaving suppliers waiting up to two years to get paid – hurts the primary producer,” he pointed out.
“These actions are indicative of a culture which believes it is OK to walk on farmers – to demean their produce and work. So I am calling on our competition authority to investigate if practices as sharp and as unethical as have been found in the UK are practiced by retailers in Ireland,” Mr Healy added.
“I welcome the fact that draft regulations aimed at legally controlling the balance of power between suppliers, retailers and others in the grocery sector have been finally published by Minister for Enterprise, Richard Bruton, but you would have to wonder why this legislation is only appearing now,” he said.
“One final point on this – there is a lot of talk about sustainability of food production – but surely the economic sustainability of food producers is as important as the environmental sustainability,” the candidate said
“We need to get a fair return for our work and our investment. With that in mind, I believe action is needed at European level to protect the primary producer’s share of the final retail price of food. This is important for the consumer as well. Because fewer producers means less choice for consumers.”