Dáil Éireann - Volume 483 - 02 December, 1997
Written Answers. - Restrictive Practices.
Mr. McGrath Mr. McGrath
123. Mr. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on the concept of below cost selling, particularly its impact on consumers and retailers, particularly family run grocers; if she will rescind or renew the current order relating to below cost selling; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20902/97]
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Miss Harney) Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Miss Harney)
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Miss Harney): The Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order, 1987 was made under the Restrictive Practices Acts to regulate competition in the groceries sector. The order bans the selling, or advertising for sale, of grocery goods below cost with the exception of certain specified goods such as perishable foodstuffs. It also prohibits such practices as “hello money”, boycotting and sets out provisions for controls on terms and conditions of supply. The order is enforced by the Director of Consumer Affairs. The Groceries Order was last reviewed in February 1995, after which the then Minister announced his intention to retain the order for a further two years.
 The order is, among other matters, currently being reviewed by the competition and mergers review group established in September 1996.
The review group has received submissions from a number of interests in regard to the Groceries Order and will be reporting to me in 1998. I do not intend to make any decision in regard to the future of the order until I have considered the report and recommendations of the review group.
The Competition (Amendment) Act, 1996, introduced public enforcement of competition law and established the post of director of competition enforcement. Any person who has any concerns about anti-competitive behaviour, including concerted practices, in any sector of the economy, can contact the director with details of their complaint.
Dáil Éireann 483 Written Answers. Restrictive Practices.