The government's Competition & Consumer Protection Bill, which will seek to introduce a series of regulations to govern retailer-supplier relations in the Irish grocery industry, has been debated in the Dáil, with TDs giving the legislation a mixed welcome.
Independent Donegal TD Thomas Pringle said that he was "concerned when I read the Bill and saw the Minister had opted for regulation and statutory instrument," noting that he had "hoped for, and the committee had recommended, a statutory code."
Picking up on this, Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín said it was "disappointing that the Jobs Minister has decided to opt out of a Code of Conduct choosing instead incremental enabling provisions with an initial bare minimum approach. Sharp practices remain in the grocery sector despite the significant profits of the main players. All suppliers are asking for is fair play and using consumers as an excuse for anything less is simply disingenuous."
Fianna Fáil's Dara Calleary welcomed the legislation, saying that the government has "affed about for long enough in respect of the grocery sector. There appears to be an unwillingness to take on that sector. The Bill before the House presents us with an opportunity to do so."
Finally, Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael TD James Bannon said the Bill will "regulate the grocery sector and ensure there is fairness between suppliers, retailers and consumers on issues such as contracts and the delivery of goods. New legal requirements for record-keeping and the inclusion of certain terms in written contracts, together with strong enforcement powers, would ensure fairness and sustainability in this sector."