The IFA has called on the next Irish Government to appoint an Independent Ombudsman to oversee the Grocery Goods Regulations and ensure the new regulations are effective.

Following a meeting of IFA’s Retail Project Team this week, IFA National Chairman Jer Bergin said that the appointment would be essential.

The IFA has been campaigning on this issue for some time and it is a key demand in its General Election 2016 Manifesto, which is being pursued with all political parties during the campaign.

Bergin said that the recent findings by UK Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon against a major retailer reaffirm IFA’s call for a similar independent ombudsman in Ireland to regulate the grocery retail market.

“IFA is looking for a commitment in the next Programme for Government that a system similar to that in the UK, which is paid for by the retailers themselves, would be put in place here to regulate the behaviour of retailers.”

This would ensure that suppliers who are subject to unfair trading practices by retailers can have confidential and effective recourse to an Independent Ombudsman to investigate and pursue their case.

“IFA is concerned that the new Competition and Consumer Protection Commission will not be sufficiently focussed on supplier interests to effectively pursue complaints,” Bergin said.

Under the new Regulations, coming into force on April 30 next, retailers will have to provide transparency and clarity in their dealings with suppliers, through contractual relationships.

However, the IFA believes the regulations do not go far enough in banning below-cost selling and providing for the establishment of an Independent Ombudsman.