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Groceries order must go - says Consumer Agency

  • 23-08-2005 3:15pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 805 ✭✭✭

    Poor Micheál Martin. All his paid advisors are telling him to ditch the groceries order and all his backbenchers are telling him to keep it.

    The National consumer agency has published its advice today. The Competiton Authority has already given him the same advice.

    What's an indecisive Minister to do? Believe the hired help or the heavily lobbied puppets of the vested interests who are his Dáil colleagues?


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,253 ✭✭✭✭Eoin

    This was on the last word yesterday actually, some interesting facts were quoted by a rep from IBEC (this was on the radio, so no links for you):

    * SVP and another major Irish charity have said that they are in favour of the groceries order

    * On average, people only know the value of 1 in 10 grocery items they buy.

    * The average shopping basket that was 13 euros more expensive in Ireland than anywhere else in the E.U. included "every day items" like an electric tooth brush, a box of Ferero Roche (sp?) chocolates and a bottle of Bacardi. Take these out, and the shopping basket is less than 2 euros more expensive

    * Spain also has a ban on below cost selling, however their groceries are much cheaper. The main difference between Spain and Ireland is the minimum wage is about 3.5 Euros more per hour

    Basically, the rep from IBEC said that what will happen if the ban is removed is that supermarkets will sell the 10% of items that people know the value of at a loss. However, that leaves them a massive 90% of items that they can increase the price of to make up for this, and the consumer will be no wiser, and certainly no better off because of it. It is pretty much common sense - there is a reason why a supermarket would sell at a loss, and it isn't out of a charitable disposition.

    As mentioned above - two major Irish charities have said they are in favour of the grocery order. They directly represent the most vulnerable consumers in Ireland.

    Despite Matt Cooper's clumsy efforts to attack her (the IBEB rep) and put words in her mouth, she came across as being far more knowledgeable and logical about the whole thing. On the other hand, the head of the Consumer Agency had no reply to many of the points that were raised.

    I do believe that Ireland is way too expensive, but I think that Eddie Hobbs has picked easy targets to blame for this, without taking into account the hugely complex economic factors that are in work in Ireland - or in any country (economies of scale etc). For instance, he is not going to say that the relatively high wages in Ireland are to blame, as this will turn the viewers off him.