The Programme for Government contains a specific commitment to enact legislation to regulate certain practices in the grocery goods sector. I intend to give effect to this commitment by including an enabling provision in the Consumer and Competition Bill. This Bill will also, inter alia, merge the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority, update and reform competition law on foot of a review of the operation and implementation of the Competition Act 2002 and give effect to the recommendations of the Advisory Group on Media Mergers. Work on drafting the Consumer and Competition Bill is on-going and the Bill is included in the "A list" in the Government's current Legislative Programme.
The Government is strongly of the view that it is important to ensure there is balance in the relationship between the various players in the grocery goods sector and that Ireland continues to have robust agri food and retail sectors, particularly given the importance of these sectors to the national economy. The introduction of a Code of Practice is intended to achieve such a balance taking into account the interests of all stakeholders in the grocery goods sector including the interests of the consumer and the need to ensure that there is no impediment to the passing-on of lower prices to consumers.