Tim Cullinan: has launched an anti-competitiveness initiative
IFA president Tim Cullinan has announced an initiative to gather evidence to force an investigation into the beef or any other farming sector where there is potential anti-competitive behaviour adversely affecting farmers.
“The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) recently advised IFA that it would not investigate alleged anti-competitive practices in the beef sector.
This was despite receiving countless complaints. The main reason they gave was what they called a lack of evidence, and in particular documentary evidence,” he said.
The Toomevara farmer said that it was time to take on vested interests which had to be held to account.
He said that they had several allegations of anti-competitive behaviour in sectors and IFA wanted 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 CCPC has considerable investigation powers under relevant legislation.
However, Mr Cullinan said that they had refused to use these powers to try and obtain any evidence of price fixing by beef or other processors or retailers.
“While we welcome the commitment in the Programme for Government to establish a National Food Ombudsman, 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,” he said.
The IFA president said that if IFA can obtain viable evidence, they can use it 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.