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Decision to revoke Groceries Order bad for communities and consumers - Morgan

31 January, 2006


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers Rights, Arthur Morgan TD has Sinn Féin does not support revocation of the Groceries Order. Speaking in the Dáil this evening on the Competition Bill (Amendment) 2005 he said, if the order is revoked, “Communities and consumers will suffer as small retailers are forced out of business and people cease to have access to small retailers based in their community.”     

Deputy Morgan said, “I would like to make it clear that Sinn Féin does not support the primary purpose of this bill – the revocation of the Groceries Order.

“Sinn Féin supported the retention of the groceries order. The order was brought in to address the fact that large supermarket chains would in its absence use  'loss leaders’ which are products sold at less than the cost of production to lure customers into the store and create a distorted impression that the store is cheaper than rivals. Small stores with tight profit margins find themselves unable to compete.  Ultimately communities and consumers will suffer as small retailers are forced out of business and people cease to have access to small retailers based in their community.  There is also serious concern that the revocation of this order will adversely affect local producers. 

“It is Sinn Féin’s view that the ban on below cost selling, along with the retail planning guidelines, have ensured that retail development in the State takes place in a relatively sustainable manner that provides a measure of protection to small traders and local economies.

“In parallel with the moves being implemented by way of the legislation before the House today was the equally regressive relaxation of the Retail Planning Guidelines by the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche.   The Minister changed the retail planning guidelines to facilitate the Ikea superstore after being lobbied by to do so.

“Sinn Féin does not believe that it is acceptable for retail and planning policy to be dictated by a single furniture retailer seeking to enter the Irish market.  There was no impediment to IKEA entering the market while the current retail planning guidelines remained in place, particularly as IKEA operates stores that meet this State’s existing retail planning limits in a number of other countries.” ENDS

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