Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 16 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Grocery Industry.

  90. Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the status of his review of the groceries order; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28354/04]

[754]   106. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if it is now not intended to implement any changes to the 1987 groceries order which forbids below cost selling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28368/04]

  Mr. Martin: I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 and 106 together.

As I advised the House on 7 October 2004, the advice of the Attorney General’s office was sought during the most recent review of the groceries order. The advice stated that, should an amendment of the order be deemed appropriate, the safest method would be pursuant to primary legislation. The Competition Act 2002 was the culmination of a major review of competition law that commenced in 1996 with the setting up of the competition and mergers review group, CMRG. This recent statute introduced a wide range of enhancements to competition law, many of which were recommended by the CMRG and have yet to be fully tested.

Accordingly, I have no plans for new competition legislation at present. Furthermore, the consumer strategy group, which was established last March, is currently deliberating on a wide range of consumer matters. The group may pronounce on the groceries order in its findings later this year. In all of these circumstances, a further review of the order may be considered appropriate when the 2002 Act is being reviewed in the future.