An Irish town council's rejection of a €6m (£4.1m) Marks & Spencer store, which would have created 100 jobs, has become an issue in the Republic's general election.

Councillors in Tralee, County Kerry - a town with 3,000 unemployed - vetoed the 30,000 sq ft store on the grounds that it would be an out-of-town development and might adversely affect town centre businesses.

But local polls are demonstrating widespread support for the new store, which has been in the pipeline for two years.

General election candidates in the Kerry constituency have admitted feeling the brunt of local anger on the doorsteps. Now two of the candidates most favoured to win seats on 24 May - and who originally voted down the project - have called for a fresh meeting of the town council to reconsider its decision on the store.

Councillor Norma Foley, of the governing Fianna Fail party, and Labour's Councillor Terry O'Brien admitted they decided on a u-turn after coming under fire on the issue during their election canvass.

Kerry has become a familiar battleground for retail planning controversies, with Tesco encountering similar difficulties over permission for stores in Listowel and Tralee.