Speaking following the decision today by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to clear the acquisition of Dunbia by Dawn Meats, IFA President Joe Healy said the CCPC must take their head out of the sand and address the serious lack of competition in the Irish beef sector.
Joe Healy said it is the responsibility of the CCPC to ensure that there is competition in the beef sector but they are failing in their duty in this regard. He said IFA met the CCPC and put a detailed independent report to them addressing the lack of competition in the beef sector. He said farmers expect the CCPC to utilise the powers they have under the law to undertake a full and proper investigation of all of the issues around the lack of competition in the beef sector.
He said it is farcical for the CCPC to state that they were not provided with any information to suggest the existence of any form of ‘coordination of prices’ for the purchase of cattle. He said the CCPC should use their statutory powers to unearth this information. They cannot expect that it will be handed to them by the industry. He said farmers have no confidence in either the desire or the ability of the CCPC to tackle this problem.
Joe Healy said that if it were not for the live export trade the situation would be even worse. He said the only area where farmers see price competition is through a strong and vibrant live export trade.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the evidence of the recent cattle price cuts and changes with sterling again clearly point to a lack of competition. He said “Factories told farmers in August and September that the price cuts were as a result of the weakness of sterling going out to 93p/€. However, the exchange rate is now back to 88p/€, yet cattle prices are not increasing. Nobody can explain this and worse still the CCPC appears to just ignore it.”