Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness has called on the European Commission to keep its eyes on the Irish meat sector to make sure that there is fair competition following the ABP/Slaney Foods merger.

McGuinness made the comments at last week’s meeting of the EU Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.

She said that while the takeover of Slaney Meats by ABP has been passed by the Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, she would hope that there would be continued eyes kept on the meat sector in Ireland to make sure that there is fair competition.

This is because quite frankly many of Ireland’s producers do not believe that this is the case, she said.

In response to McGuinness’s comments a Commission spokesperson said that it had very, very carefully looked at the situation there in the last six months and that it definitely has a fair hand in the game in relation to the sector.

Meanwhile, the Fine Gael MEP also said that one area that the Agriculture Committee has not discussed at all is the concentration in the supply sector on the issue of major agricultural chemical companies coming together.

“I’ve written a letter asking DG Competition and the Commissioner to look at the cumulative impact of all of these mergers on the agriculture and food supply chain and it’s something we might address [in the committee],” she said.

Earlier this month, McGuinness said that there is a real risk that three major developments in the sector, involving Chemchina’s proposed acquisition of Syngenta, the coming together of Monsanto and Bayer and the proposed merger of Dow and DuPont could lead to increased costs to farmers.

She also said that the potential mergers could reduce the choice available to farmers in terms of seeds and crop protection products.

“These are major corporations with a great deal of market power.

“Where you have six individual companies reduced down to three companies by way of merger, the fear is that it will lead to disproportionate power in the marketplace.

“We have to ask the question who’s interest is served by these mergers of major companies into mega corporations,” she said.