Senator Ivana Bacik (Labour) has told a Seanad debate that the long-awaited Consumer & Competition Bill, which will include provisions to establish a code of practice for the grocery sector, will be published in April.
Responding to a statement by Senator Darragh O'Brien (Fianna Fáil), who noted that the "legislative measure has been on the A list for five Oireachtas sessions" and yet is still to see the light of day, Bacik said that the Bill was near completion.
"Senator O'Brien will appreciate that quite a number of items on the A list were not reached over a period due to the necessity to bring in emergency legislation, troika legislation and so on," she said. "But I am happy to report to Senator O'Brien that the consumer protection and competition Bill is close to completion and should be published in April. I have made inquiries and established that, and we would all agree with the Senator on the importance of that legislation.
"We all appreciate the difficulties that people in that sector are facing, particularly market gardeners and those in the retail area. That is important legislation."
O'Brien made his comments on the back of a meeting with Deputy Eamonn O'Cuiv, along with 50 fruit and vegetable producers, on the challenges facing the sector.
"The Christmas period nearly destroyed this sector," he said. "Many of the multiples were selling carrots for €0.09 and broccoli for €0.06 - all below cost. This industry is effectively on its knees. We welcome the fact that the Government is moving with the Consumer Protection and Competition Bill but this is the fifth session during which it has been on the A list, which is supposed to be a priority list. The Bill was to have been published this session."
When contacted by Retail Intelligence, a spokesperson for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation confirmed that the government approved the drafting of the Bill in July 2011, however, until recently, "legislation made necessary by the requirements of the EU/IMF programme took priority over other legislation."
The spokesperson confirmed that "work on drafting the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, which is included in the “A list” in the Government’s current Legislative Programme, is at an advanced stage and it is hoped to publish the Bill in the coming weeks on foot of receipt of a stamped copy of the Bill from the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel."
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones