IFA calls for Irish competition authority to get involved in ABP/Slaney investigation

Calls have been made to involve the Competition and Consumer Commission (CCPC) in Ireland in the investigation into the proposed ABP/Slaney Meats.

The proposed deal was submitted the European Competition Authorities this week and Commission has until October 7 to issue its findings on the deal.

IFA President Joe Healy has said the very serious competition issues raised in the independent report commissioned by the IFA on the proposed ABP/Slaney Meats deal cannot be ignored by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and the Government.

Healy said IFA has been in contact again with Brussels and requested DG Competition to formally involve the Competition and Consumer Commission (CCPC) in Ireland and the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK to ensure all competition issues raised are fully investigated and addressed.

Joe Healy said he has also written to Isolde Goggin, Chairperson of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in Ireland requesting that the CCPC seek a referral of the case to Ireland so as the fundamental competition issues around the purchase of cattle in Ireland are fully investigated.

In a statement to Agriland, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said (CCPC) its role within the process will be, if requested, to provide market and specialist information and viewpoints to the relevant case team during the merger review.

The IFA President said the main conclusion of the IFA report is that the primary procurement market for farmers selling cattle in Ireland to the meat factories is characterised by weak competition and the proposed deal is likely to weaken competition even further, through a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ (SLC). He said the report outlines that the chief concern over the proposed transaction is that it would make coordinated effects in the relevant markets more likely.

“This report is very clear on the competition concerns in the beef sector, the income pressures that exist for livestock producers and the impact that any weakening of competition would have on their livelihoods.”