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Please see the new S.I. No. 625 of 2023 Agricultural and Food Supply Chain (Unfair Trading Regulations 2023)
 which are effective from 13 December 2023. The 2021 Regulations have been revoked.

The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D, has today formally established An Rialálaí Agraibhia - The Agri-Food Regulator under the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Act 2023.

The establishment of the Regulator fulfils a major commitment in the Programme for Government to establish a new independent authority to bring fairness and transparency to the agricultural and food supply chain.

Speaking at its launch Minister McConalogue said:

“This is a major landmark in the history of Ireland’s Agri food sector. I have long advocated for the establishment of this independent authority, and it is a great personal privilege for me, as Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, to have brought this from its introductory legislation and to be here today on its establishment day. This fulfils a significant commitment in the Programme for Government and one of my priorities during my time in office as Minister.”

“I again acknowledge the widespread support on all sides in the Houses of the Oireachtas for the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Act 2023. I have no doubt that the establishment of the Regulator will protect our Agri-food suppliers, in particular, our farmers, fishers and small food businesses, from unlawful and unfair trading practices in the agricultural and food supply chain and will bring greater transparency to the Agri Food sector. They will do this by publishing analysis of information about price and market data relating to the agricultural and food supply chain and enforcing the rules on unfair trading practices.”

Today also marked the first meeting of the Board of the new Regulator at its new HQ on the Government campus in Backweston in Co. Kildare. Minister McConalogue previously announced that he has appointed Mr Joe Healy as the Chairperson and seven ordinary members to the Board.

Commenting on this the Minister said “In appointing Mr. Joe Healy as Chair of the Board as well as the other seven Members, I am confident the Board and the CEO Niamh Lenehan have the depth and breadth of experience to make the Agri Food Regulator the successful organisation we all want it to be. This boards brings a strong and diverse skillset from across the agri-food sector and beyond to lead this very important Agency.

Commenting on his appointment as Chairperson Mr. Joe Healy said:

“I am delighted to be appointed as Chairperson of the new Agri-Food Regulator today by Minister McConalogue. It is so important that this independent Regulator is in place to promote fairness and transparency in the agri-food supply chain and in particular to have regard to the circumstances and needs of farming, fishing and small food businesses. I look forward to working with both my Board colleagues and the CEO of the Regulator, Niamh Lenehan, to deliver on our mandate.”

Commenting on her formal appointment as CEO of the Regulator after serving since May as CEO-designate, Niamh Lenehan said:

“I very much look forward to sharing the journey ahead with the Board, staff and stakeholders with an immediate focus on the delivery of a statement of strategy and associated workplan underpinned by the powers and functions assigned to the Regulator under the 2023 Act.”

Minister McConalogue also announced that he has introduced new regulations to coincide with the establishment of An Rialálaí Agraibhia replacing the 2021 Regulations introduced under SI 198 of 2021 (European Union (Unfair Trading Practices in the agricultural and food supply chain) Regulations 2021. The new Regulations are necessary to take account of provisions in the Agricultural and Supply Chain Act 2023 relating to the transfer of UTP enforcement functions to the Regulator.

In concluding, Minister Mc Conalogue said:

“The establishment of the Agri-food Regulator to-day is the start of a journey towards increased fairness and transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain. I wish An Rialálaí Agraibhia every success for the future. “

The work of the Office can be followed through its website, www.agrifoodregulator.ie in addition to social media channels.

ENDS

Image: Minister McConalogue announces the formal establishment of An Rialálaí Agraibhia (The Agri-Food Regulator)

Caption: Niamh Lenehan, CEO, AgriFood Regulator, Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D, Joe Healy, Chairperson, AgriFood Regulator

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  • The Chairperson and members were selected following a competition held by the State Boards Appointments service.
  • The Minister brought forward the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill 2022 in line with the Programme for Government commitment to establish a new authority to ensure fairness, equity, and transparency in the food chain. The Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Act 2023 provides for the establishment of a new independent statutory Authority to be known as ‘An Rialálaí Agraibhia’ (Agri-Food Regulator).
  • An Rialálaí Agraibhia will promote the principles of fairness and transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain by performing a price / market analysis and reporting function and will become the State’s designated enforcement authority for enforcing the rules on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain. The functions of enforcement of Unfair Trading Practices currently being implemented on an interim basis in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will move to An Rialálaí Agraibhia.
  • Website of An Rialálaí Agraibhia: www.agrifoodregulator.ie

Secondary legislation

  • The existing SI 198 of 2021 lists the 16 UTPs without change to those in the UTP Directive 2019/633. It is necessary introduce new regulations for the purpose of provisions in the Agricultural and Supply Chain Act 2023. The same UTPs as those in SI 198 of 2021 are unchanged in the new regulations in SI 625 of 2023.
  • Directive 2019/633 provided for a 'step' approach to setting the scope of suppliers and buyers for complaint purposes: suppliers and buyers were categorized depending on their annual turnover up to a minimum €2 million for buyers and a maximum €350 million for suppliers. This meant that there were categories of suppliers and buyers and complaints could be made by suppliers depending on what turnover category they were and depending on whether the buyer was in the same turnover category or a different turnover category e.g. suppliers with a max turnover of between €2 million and €10 million could not make a complaint against a buyer whose turnover level also fell into that category.

The turnover category classification in the regulations has been changed to provide for the turnover of the buyer to be higher than €2 million and higher than that of the supplier.

  • In addition, Part 3 of the new regulations outline new compliance reporting requirements for buyers with an annual turnover of more than €50 m. The UTP Enforcement Authority in the DAFM has sought compliance reports on a voluntary basis from buyers. The regulations provide that it will be obligatory for such buyers to submit an annual compliance report to the Regulator.

 

An Cathaoirleach: I welcome Mr. Joe Healy, chairperson designate of An Rialálaí Agraibhia, and wish him the best in his new appointment. He is accompanied by Ms Niamh Lenehan, CEO designate of An Rialálaí Agraibhia. She is very welcome to the meeting.

The full text is now available on the Oireachtas site

The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, today announced his intention to appoint Mr Joe Healy as Chairperson of the Board An Rialálaí Agraibhia (Agri Food Regulator). Mr. Healy will be joined by seven ordinary Board members also to be appointed by the Minister. All of the Board appointments will formally commence when the Regulator is formally established which, the Minister announced today, will be on Wednesday 13 December next.

Minister McConalogue said:

“The formal establishment of the new Regulator’s Office is now in sight which is a major milestone in our commitment to bring more fairness and transparency to the agri-food supply chain. Appointing the Board is the next step and I am delighted with the calibre of Board members who have put themselves forward to serve. All have come through a full selection process which has now concluded. I am delighted to confirm my intention to nominate Mr. Joe Healy to be the Chairperson of the Board. Joe brings a vast amount of experience on all aspects of the agricultural and food supply chain. He has the requisite leadership and organisational skills to steer the strategy and governance of the new Regulator as it begins its historic journey to bring greater fairness and transparency to the agri-food sector.”

Minister Mc Conalogue also announced his intention to appoint the following persons as ordinary members to the Board.

  • Mr. John Comer,
  • Ms. Karen Brosnan,
  • Ms. Margaret Dineen,
  • Ms. Elaine Donohue,
  • Mr. Angus Woods,
  • Ms. Grace McCullen
  • Mr. Paul Brophy

On the proposed appointment of the ordinary members, Minister Mc Conalogue said:

“The proposed board members all have expertise in matters relevant to the Regulator’s functions. Their combined experience and knowledge will be of huge benefit to the new body as they support the Chairperson to lead and direct the activities of An Rialálaí Agraibhia as it commences its work and to work with the CEO designate Niamh Lenehan in the effective management of the new Regulator. I am particularly pleased to be in a position to appoint an even gender balance on the Board which helps to fulfil my commitment to improving diversity in our State bodies.

Mr. Joe Healy said:

“I am honoured to be nominated by Minister McConalogue to fulfil this important role as Chair of the first Board of the new Agri-Food Regulator and I look forward to taking up the role in the coming weeks. All stakeholders need to have trust and confidence in the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain and also in this new Regulator and I look forward to working with both my Board colleagues and the CEO of the Regulator, Niamh Lenehan, to put in the place the strategy and functions to deliver on our mandate. It is a hugely positive development for suppliers to now have a Regulator who will provide analysis of information about price and market data as well as having powers to investigate reports of suspected breaches and pursue offences where they occur in unfair trading practices”.

Minister Mc Conalogue also confirmed that the offices of An Rialálaí Agraibhia will be based in the Government shared offices campus in Backweston, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. The first Board meeting of the Office is scheduled for Wednesday 13 December to coincide with the establishment day of the new Office.

This proposed Chairperson and members were selected following a competition held by the State Boards Appointments service.

ENDS

Notes

Proposed Board members

About the proposed Board members:

  • Joe Healy is a dairy and cattle farmer from Athenry and is a former National President of both Macra na Feirme 1995 – 1997 and more recently the IFA 2016 – 2020. He also served as 1st Vice President of COPA (European Farmers Organisation) where he chaired the influential Food Chain Committee. Currently, he is Chairman of “Cultivate” (Credit Unions Agri Finance) and sits on the boards of Self Help Africa, Gurteen Agricultural College, and the European Economic and Social Committee.
  • Mr. John Comer is a dairy farmer from Co. Mayo. He was previously President of the ICMSA and is currently a member of the European Economic and Social Committee
  • Ms. Karen Brosnan has worked as a management consultant in the agri-food sector since 2000, specialising in strategy, governance, and leadership. She was a former Chairperson of Nuffield Ireland and Gurteen College and is currently a Director of AgriAware.
  • Ms. Margaret Dineen has over 20 years of experience managing commercial trading relationships across the fresh food industry. A management consultant and accountant, Margaret now works with SME’s within the Irish Food Industry in developing their supply chain optimisation and commercial business development.
  • Ms. Elaine Donohue is from a farming background. Elaine has a wealth of experience across the breadth and depth of National Food Supply Chains spanning many sectors. Elaine currently works at the helm of Bia Innovator Campus, focused on innovation, incubation, and the sustainability of the grassroots food industry.
  • Mr. Angus Woods is a beef, sheep, and tillage farmer, and is a columnist with the Farming Independent. He is a former President of the EU Civil Dialogue for Animal Products and has served on a number of boards in the agri-food sector including ICBF and Bord Bia's Meat and Livestock board.
  • Ms. Grace McCullen is a strategist and commercial marketer and has worked in food, drink, and agri-business for 25 years with a range of companies. Grace holds an MSc. Digital Marketing & Data Analytics, BSc.Food Business and Dip. Food Science & Technology and grew up on a farm in Co. Meath.
  • Mr. Paul Brophy is a primary producer in the horticulture sector with over 40 years of experience. He is Chairman of Unigreen, a producer organisation of 5 progressive vegetable producers. Paul has formerly served on the horticulture board of Bord Bia and was a former chair of the IFA horticulture sector

Appointments were made pursuant to a State Boards Public Appointments Service process.

Appointments will be effective from Establishment Day of An Rialálaí Agraibhia.

The Minister brought forward the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill 2022 in line with the Programme for Government commitment to establish a new authority to ensure fairness, equity, and transparency in the food chain. The Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Act 2023 provides for the establishment of a new independent statutory Authority to be known as ‘An Rialálaí Agraibhia’ (Agri-Food Regulator).

Section 21 of the Act provides that membership of the agri-food regulator shall consist of a Chairperson and seven Ordinary Members.

An Rialálaí Agraibhia will promote the principles of fairness and transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain by performing a price / market analysis and reporting function and will become the State’s designated enforcement authority for enforcing the rules on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain. The functions of enforcement of Unfair Trading Practices currently being implemented on an interim basis in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will move to An Rialálaí Agraibhia.