Lidl's first store in the Irish Republic is now under construction and set to challenge the market's big two ­ Tesco and Dunnes ­ when it opens in September. The 1,230 sq m outlet is on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Killarney, the leading Irish tourist town in Co Kerry, where Tesco and Dunnes are already in close competition. That rivalry is soon to intensify, with Tesco awaiting planning permission from the local council for a second store, also just outside the town. George Nash, development officer with Killarney Chamber of Commerce, defended the prospect of three multiples in a town with a population of 10,000. Such was the area's appeal that its population during the tourist season soared to more than 60,000. This is Lidl's first Irish venture and it follows the recent arrival of arch rival, Aldi, which has opened three stores ­ in Dublin, Cork and Letterkenny - over the last six months. Aldi makes no secret of the fact it intends to become a major player in the IR£6bn Irish grocery market, with ambitions for 40 stores across the Republic by the end of the decade. Lidl refuses to discuss its plans. But Irish md Patrick Kauderwitz told a parliamentary committee in Dublin last year that the company was "looking for sites all over the country" and hoped to build a network of up to 30 stores. Lidl's new Killarney outlet will follow the traditional formula of heavily discounted own brand goods ­ but will not sell fresh meat or vegetables. The move into the Irish market by the two German discounters comes at a time of renewed pressure on the government to lift the 13 year old ban on below cost selling in the trade, which would clear the decks for a full scale price war between the multiples (see below). {{NEWS }}