Dáil Éireann - Volume 554 - 09 October, 2002
Written Answers. - Retail Sector Developments.
Mr. Perry Mr. Perry
163. Mr. Perry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps she has put in place to check the quantity of Irish sourced products being purchased by Irish and foreign owned retailers here; the transparency of such arrangements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15495/02]
Mr. Perry Mr. Perry
164. Mr. Perry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding the sourcing obligations of discount grocery stores here; the present market share held by such stores; the volume, in cash terms, of Irish sourced goods purchased by such groups; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15496/02]
Minister of State at of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. M. Ahern)
Minister of State at of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. M. Ahern): I propose to take Questions Nos. 163 and 164 together.
The European Single Market gives the right to any firm within the European Union to establish retail outlets in other member states and to source freely their supplies from within the EU. This is a right which many Irish firms are exploiting very successfully both in terms of establishing businesses in other member states and in supplying the single market. Once the relevant provisions of EU competition law are respected and single market rules adhered to, it is open to all companies to source their products anywhere within the EU. A sourcing obligation would, therefore, be contrary to EU rules.
I am, however, anxious to ensure that Irish suppliers can avail of the opportunities which the increasing number of overseas firms in the retail market provide. To this end, Enterprise Ireland administers a supplier development programme which determines, at an individual company level, the appropriate changes required to assist Irish suppliers to respond to the challenges arising from the structural change under way in the market and to take advantage of the new opportunities arising. Enterprise Ireland also meets regularly with the major retailers based in Ireland  and encourages them to purchase locally produced products as much as possible.
Market information in relation to the quantity of Irish sourced goods is not commercially available and there are no official records kept in this area. Exceptionally, however, following a unique voluntary agreement between Tesco Ireland and the Government, a voluntary commitment was given by Tesco in favour of Irish manufacturers and suppliers to help them maintain and grow their business with Tesco. Independent monitoring was carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute.
In addition to the above, I have had meetings with major retailers based in Ireland. I met with representatives of Tesco on 12 September and representatives of Aldi as recently as 7 October and I am satisfied with their ongoing commitment to the Irish market.
Dáil Éireann 554 Written Answers. Retail Sector Developments.