Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
858. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the intended timeline to bring forward legislation to establish a new office of national food ombudsman, regulator or equivalent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46509/21]
As the Deputy will be aware, the establishment of an Office of National Food Ombudsman, or equivalent, is a key commitment in the Programme for Government, which states that the new Office will enforce the Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) Directive and will also have a role in analysing and reporting on price and market data in Ireland.
The Deputy will also be aware that, in April 2021, I signed Statutory Instrument No. 198 of 2021 to transpose the UTP Directive into Irish law directly as it stands, with effect from 1st July 2021. As an interim measure, I have established the UTP Enforcement Authority in the Department. That Enforcement Authority has the powers to investigate complaints from suppliers including primary producers, carry out investigations on its own initiative and initiate legal proceedings for breaches of the UTPs.
In regard to the primary legislation required to establish the new Office, following the public consultation inviting views on what functions the new Office should deliver, and the information seminar that I hosted In June for stakeholders, which included a presentation by the former UK Groceries Code Adjudicator, the submissions received have been examined and the legislation is now being drafted.
I am fully committed to ensuring the Programme for Government commitment is implemented as quickly as possible to ensure we bring much-needed transparency sector. The Department is giving this matter priority. However, until the legislation is finalised, I am not in a position to say exactly when the new Office will be established.