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Labour TD's Ged Nash and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Sasko Lazarov/
food costs

Labour call for investigation into 'price gouging' by supermarket chains

Ged Nash said that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission needed to examine the matter.

A LABOUR TD has called for an investigation into “record-breaking profits” being made by supermarket chains in Ireland.

Labour TD for Louth, Ged Nash, has called on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to investigate the large profits being made by supermarkets, saying that food prices are continuing to rise despite falling production costs.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Nash said that big corporations – including supermarkets – were involved in “profit-taking” and that it was contributing to the high level of inflation in the Irish economy.

“We know that input costs are going down, we know that labor costs are decreasing, we know that energy costs are decreasing.

“But the reality is that far too many big corporations, like for example, major supermarket chains are involved in obtaining super-normal, hyper-normal profits.

“They are effectively profit-taking and that is increasing the strain on the economy and it’s contributing to the very high levels of inflation that we’re experiencing at the moment.

He added that it was both ordinary punters and primary producers who were being impacted, with higher costs for consumers while additional profits are not being passed along to producers.

“It is the ordinary punters across Ireland who are paying the price for that at the till in terms of high prices for bread, high prices for milk, high prices for eggs.

“It’s absolutely insane what’s happening at the moment.”

Nash called for the matter to be investigated by the CCPC and said that the Government needed to examine price controls on foodstuffs. 

“It’s time for the CCPC to investigate potential price gouging in the market to ensure that the wages of hard-pressed workers go further and for the authorities to examine how profit-taking is contributing to the inflation problem.”

He said that under the 2007 Consumer Protection Act, price controls are permitted under “extraordinary circumstances” and that he believed that threshold had been met.

“We are experiencing extraordinary circumstances at the moment,” Nash added.

“We believe that the capacity is provided in the 2007 Consumer Protection Act to introduce price controls on staple products for a period of time.”

He urged the CCPC to investigate profit taking within the supermarket sector and then advise the Government on any potential actions they could take.

The Journal reported over the weekend about concerns surrounding data protection with lower prices for Tesco Clubcard holders.

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