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Concern at impact of groceries order abolition on disadvantaged

8 November, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Arthur Morgan T.D. has expressed concerns regarding suggestions that the Government will today agree to abolish the groceries order. Deputy Morgan questioned whether the concerns raised by the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Combat Poverty Agency and Crosscare regarding the impact on low income families of repealing the order had been given proper consideration.

Deputy Morgan said, "Sinn Fein 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 suffer as small retailers are forced out of business and people cease to have access to small retailers based in their community.

"In their joint submission to the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Combat Poverty Agency and Crosscare raised concerns that the repeal of the groceries order 'may well cause a negative impact by worsening the inequalities that already exist in the groceries market owing to issues of access and availability of low-cost nutritional foodstuffs in low-density and low-income areas.' I am calling on the Minister to make clear how precisely he intends to address these very particular concerns." ENDS

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