Tesco has announced plans for seven new stores in the Republic of Ireland, via investment worth almost £100m.

The stores will open over the next 12 months, creating up to 750 jobs. The largest store will be in Naas, County Kildare, with further sites planned in Waterford, Galway, Mayo and Tipperary.

Tesco Ireland chief executive Tony Keohane said the new stores came at “a difficult time for the Irish economy”.

But the plans came under fire from the president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), John Bryan, who said there was already over-capacity in the retail sector.

Instead of undertaking “unnecessary capital investment”, he said, the multiples should be ensuring fair returns for suppliers.

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