ICSA president, Edmond Phelan, has commended the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Business Enterprise and Innovation for grilling the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) at its meeting on Tuesday night last, October 1, in line with ICSA calls for an Oireachtas investigation into the CCPC.
He said, “In particular, ICSA has repeatedly pointed out that it is unusual to say the least that no factory can tell what the price of beef will be for next week at 2pm on Friday and yet they all know the price at 4pm.
“However, this highly unusual state of affairs attracts no attention from the CCPC who on the other hand, was very quick to threaten farmer representatives as soon as they entered beef talks with representatives of the meat factories.”
Mr Phelan said the idea that it is, in fact, illegal to discuss price is ‘incredible’.
He stated, “The idea that it is illegal to even discuss the price of beef is an incredible conclusion in a liberal democracy.
“This is not North Korea. ICSA sees this as an incredibly extreme interpretation of competition law when the EU Competition Authority saw no difficulty with ABP taking over Slaney foods, thus furthering their dominant position in meat processing.
“While the answers were not particularly satisfactory, we note that the CCPC agreed that there was possibly a need for an independent regulator to oversee the meat sector and to examine the breakdown of who gets what from the food chain.”
In conclusion, the ICSA president called for the role of competition law to receive further examination at EU level.
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