Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has offered TDs and senators the opportunity to make a submission to the national food ombudsman/regulator public consultation, despite the deadline having passed.

He is giving TDs and senators until Friday 11 June to make a submission to the process.

“I notice that some Oireachtas members have been commenting on the national food ombudsman office, even though they did not take advantage of the month-long public consultation to make a submission.

“We had a tremendous, cross-sector response to the consultation, so it is disappointing that members of the Oireachtas are now commenting on it despite not having made a meaningful input.

“I offer any Oireachtas member until Friday 11 June to make a submission to the process,” the Minister said.

Rural independents

Minister McConalogue said he is keen to hear from all voices, particularly those from the Rural Independent Group, who had not provided a submission to the consultation.

The consultation process ran for a month up to 26 May last.

“I am committed to delivering a national food ombudsman/regulator that will have real teeth and powers.

“The office was a key commitment in the Programme for Government, as we want to deliver an office that will serve all elements of the supply chain in delivering greater transparency.

“It is my ambition that the office will be one that will bring transparency to all sectors, including beef.

"It is my view that the food chain needs to have greater transparency in order to give our primary producers and farmers the most reassurance that they are being rewarded for the hard work they do in creating top-class, sustainable and safe food,” he said.

Fines

The Minister said the office of the ombudsman/regulator will also act in enforcing the unfair trading practices (UTP) directive.

“Those found in breach of the UTP face a fine of up to €500,000 or up to a three-year prison sentence.

“When the milk tank leaves the yard in the morning, when the consumer buys their vegetables at lunch and when the family eats their dinner in the evening, ultimately, it is my ambition that the ombudsman/regulator will give everyone confidence that there is full transparency in our supply chain,” the Minister said.