RGDATA raises concerns regarding Agri & Food Supply Bill

RGDATA raises concerns regarding Agri & Food Supply Bill

RGDATA has raised concerns with the Ministers for Agriculture and Enterprises over the proposed Food & Agriculture Supply Bill which could place onerous and uncompetitive burdens on independent wholesalers and retailers.

In the letter to Charlie Mc McConalogue TD, Minister for Agriculture and Food, RGDATA  adressed issues of concern  with the Agri and Food Supply Chain Bill which is currently before the Oireachtas.

“RGDATA, as the organisation representing the independent retail grocery sector notes the passage of this Bill through the Oireachtas and understands that the primary objective of the Bill is to implement the provisions of the Unfair Trading Practices Directive into Irish law.

“However, we have become deeply concerned that the scope and reach of the Bill is being extended and if implemented as indicated at Committee Stage would represent a significant
potential intrusion on the operations of independent, family run community food shops in Ireland.

The letter continued “We do not believe that this was ever the intent behind the legislation and represents an overreaching from a policy perspective of the purpose and intent of this legislation.

“Our primary concern relates to an amendment that you indicated that you would be accepting from Deputy Matt Carthy during Committee Stage (Amendment No 8), which if enacted would give the Regulator new and unprecedented powers to access commercially sensitive and personal information from our members.

“The Bill as originally published contained ample investigative powers for the Regulator to secure compliance with the UTP Directive’s provisions, however Amendment 8, if accepted in the Bill, would extend those powers to acquire and release commercially sensitive information, which could also include personal data of our members and their employees.”

These powers, if reflected in the final legislation when passed would represent an extraordinary extension of the reach of the Regulator into matters that go beyond the scope of the UTP

The correspondence continued “Measures of this nature cannot be inserted into a primary piece of legislation without detailed consideration of the measure, and an assessment of its impact with disclosure provisions of company law, competition law and of course compatibility with other legal
requirements, including Data Protection laws. There would also be a need to review appropriate confidentiality provisions over this information, which if released could directly undermine the competitive position of an independent retailer within the local market.”

RGDATA urged the Minister to accept Deputy Carthy’s amendment and to revert to the Bill as originally intended in Section 12.