Pictured during the minister's visit to Virginia this week: Maurice Ryan, Director Greenbelt, Deputy Niamh Smyth, Minister Charlie McConalogue, Mossie Ryan, Managing Director of Greenbelt and Deputy Brendan Smith

Agri Food Regulator will have teeth, assures Smyth

A local TD has claimed the proposed Agri Food Regulator will have teeth.

The creation of a regulator moved a step closer after the Cabinet has approved the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill 2022 for presentation to Dáil Éireann; a development welcomed by Fianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth.

This Bill, when enacted, will establish a new independent statutory Authority which will be known as An Rialtóir Agraibhia (The Agri-Food Regulator). The legislation is being progressed by Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue.

“This fulfils a Programme for Government commitment to ensure fairness, equity, and transparency in the food chain by establishing a new authority," said Deputy Smyth.

“The Agri Food Regulator will be office with real teeth that will be a strong advocate for farmers, fishers and all food producers.

A price and market analysis and reporting function.

The Regulator will have the powers to investigate suspected breaches; promote alternative dispute resolution procedures between suppliers and buyers; bring proceedings for offences under this Bill; and refer cases to the Director of Public Prosecutions where the Regulator believes that an indictable offence has been committed.

The Bill provides for the imposition of fines for indictable offences concerning non-compliance with the rules of up to a maximum of €10 million or 10% of aggregate turnover, whichever is the greater.

The regulator will promote public awareness about agri-food unfair trading law and related matters including through public information campaigns.

“It will shine a light on the sector to help improve the position of the primary producer and it will also bring greater transparency and fairness. The Regulator will promote and enforce the principles of fairness and transparency for agri-food suppliers.”

“Today is a good day for the food producers of Ireland as they know that we are step closer to the establishment of the Agri Food Regulator. This is also an important step forward in bringing forward this office which is a key Programme for Government commitment.”