The Groceries Order, which has banned below-cost selling in the Irish Republic for over a decade, may have to be reviewed to encourage greater price competition in the trade, deputy pm Mary Harney suggested in parliament. She was responding to questions from opposition members on a new prices survey which showed that 40 grocery and drink items bought in the Casino supermarket in St Tropez, on the French Riviera, cost in total 23% less than at a Superquinn outlet in the Dublin suburb of Blackrock. Even cans of Guinness were cheaper in France. Asked if she intended to ease the cap on supermarket sizes or amend the Groceries Order to counter rising prices, she replied: "The Order is not written in stone. "We must take whatever measures are necessary to keep prices down and increase competition." The government, she added, was awaiting a report from state agency Forfas on the impact of the euro changeover on prices before making "whatever decisions are necessary in the interests of the economy and consumers". She urged consumers to be more vigilant and "to use our collective purchasing power more wisely". Superquinn's marketing director Eamonn Quinn said that products originating in Ireland, such as eggs, milk and lamb, were generally cheaper than in France, while higher Irish taxes accounted for the drink price difference. His chain was unwilling to disclose mark-ups unless all supermarkets did so. l See International, p14 {{NEWS }}

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