Taoiseach’s office receives letter calling for ‘independent meat regulator’

The office of Taoiseach Micheál Martin has been sent a letter calling for the creation of an “independent meat regulator”.

It was sent to the Taoiseach’s office by Dermot O’Brien, who is recognised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) as one of the Beef Plan Movement representatives on the Beef Market Taskforce (the other being Enda Fingleton).

The letter argues that such a regulator should have statutory powers to investigate “anti-competitive behaviour by meat processors; meat traders; bodies associated with the trade of meat or meat by-products; and retailers”.

Such an official, the letter argues, should be separate from the planned ‘food ombudsman’ included in the programme for government.

It also claims that the establishment of a regulator has been brought up at meetings of the beef taskforce, but “has failed to be entertained, discussed or debated”.

“[We are] disappointed that such an important position has not been debated by taskforce stakeholders or within the houses of the Oireachtas,” it states.

The letter calls for a bill to be drafted that would establish an independent regulator, and states: “Your constituents and the constituents of all Oireachtas members request full accountability and absolute protection from unfair trading practices and anti-competitive behaviour in the supply chain.”

It continues: “[We] are calling on all TDs and all farm organisations to push the formation and the appointment of an independent meat regulator. We are at a critical juncture.”

AgriLand understands that similar letters have been sent to several other TDs and senators.