Written Answers. - Groceries Order.

David Stanton

Ceist:

126 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development his views on the impact of the Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order, 1987, on the agricultural sector; if he is in favour of its retention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23373/00]

(Mr. Walsh): As the Deputy will be aware, my colleague, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Harney, has recently announced her intention to retain the 1987 groceries order in its entirety. I am very pleased with this approach as I believe that any diminution of its scope would in the longer term have an adverse impact on consumers generally and on rural communities in particular.
The measures provided for under the order are, in the main, aimed at preventing abuse of a dominant position and it is accepted that a dominant position must prevail before any action can be taken. Therefore since the groceries order acts as a deterrent, it is not possible to quantify its current impact on the agricultural sector. There is no evidence to suggest that the groceries order has had any detrimental effects on competition or prices.