Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has stated the establishment of a national food ombudsman will be treated as a “priority action” in the coming weeks following the closure of the consultation date.
The ombudsman was seen as one of the key demands of the Beef Market Taskforce, which was established after beef protests in 2019.
Minister McConlogue was speaking in response to a parliamentary question from Brendan Smith TD and provided an update on the legislation on unfair trading practices (UTP) legislation, which is also seen as a key issue for farmers.
“There are in total 16 unfair trading practices included in the regulations. The new legislation also provides for the establishment of an enforcement authority to deal with complaints against unfair trading practices,” the Minister said.
“I have established the enforcement authority in my Department as an interim measure pending the finalisation of primary legislation to establish a new office of national food ombudsman/ regulator or equivalent office.”
“The enforcement authority has the power to investigate complaints from suppliers, including primary producers, carry out investigations on its own initiative and initiate legal proceedings for breaches of the UTPs.”
However, he concluded with a commitment to the ombudsman and said he believed the new office would be an important service to those in agriculture and the food supply chain.