IFA seeks evidence to support probe into alleged anti-competitive behaviour
The IFA welcomed the commitment contained within the Programme for Government to establish a National Food Ombudsman.
The IFA are calling farmers to come forward if they have any evidence of potential anti-competitive behaviour in their sector.
The move comes after Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) recently advised IFA that it would not investigate alleged anti-competitive practices in the beef sector due to lack of evidence.
In early June the watchdog issued a statement which outlined: “Information showing that beef processors charge similar prices does not, in itself, constitute evidence that a cartel is in existence."
They added: “Despite considerable engagement with various beef industry stakeholders, the CCPC found no evidence of a cartel agreement between beef processors in the State.”
The IFA hasn't given up hope of forcing a probe into alleged anti-competitive practices in the sector.
IFA President Tim Cullinan (pictured above) noted that there had been numerous complaints made to the CCPC that prompted their initial engagement.
“The main reason they gave was what they called a lack of evidence, and in particular documentary evidence.
“We have several allegations of anti-competitive behaviour in sectors and we want to gather concrete evidence. Employees of processors or retailers would have protection under whistleblower legislation and may also be able to benefit from the cartel immunity programme,” he said.
The IFA has welcomed the commitment contained within the Programme for Government to establish a National Food Ombudsman. They also observe that the CCPC has considerable investigation powers under relevant legislation.
“The CCPC currently has the responsibility in this area and we cannot allow them to ignore this. We want to put it up to them and I am asking people to come forward, in confidence, so we can build a file,” continued Mr Cullinan.
“If we can obtain viable evidence, we can use this to force the CCPC to carry out an investigation, or IFA can consider pursuing a private prosecution under the Competition Act or through DG Competition at EU level,” he said.
If farmers have evidence which could assist the IFA in gather evidence to force an investigation into the beef or any other farming sector where there is potential anti-competitive behaviour, they are being asked to contact STAINES LAW, Suite 126, The Capel Building, Mary’s Abbey, Dublin 7 in confidence on 01-8720888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.