New legislative measures to combat persistent claims of retail "rip-offs" and profiteering in the Republic of Ireland are due to be published next week.

The Bill has been ­prepared by trade and ­enterprise minister Micheál Martin, currently under fire because his abolition of the controversial Groceries Order more than six months ago has so far failed to ­deliver the expected reductions in prices.

It will detail the powers that will be given to the National Consumer Agency, the new statutory watchdog, and which will be designed to end the Republic's "rip-off culture", said Anne Fitzgerald, its executive chairwoman.

It is understood that among the measures proposed are on-the-spot fines for retailers who flout the new pricing regulations.

The National Consumer Agency will also tackle misleading marketing, ­pressure selling and unfair advertising. In the case of rogue traders, the body will be empowered to seek a court order to close them.

"The rip-off culture that has become prevalent in Ireland in recent years must not be allowed to continue," said Fitzgerald.

The new measures, however radical, will not reach parliament until the end of next month at the earliest, and are unlikely to take legislative effect until well into next year.

In the meantime, both Martin and the government are taking a beating over the continuing rise in prices, with inflation now nearing 5%, the highest level for several years.

According to the latest survey by the main opposition party, Fine Gael, food prices have risen by 10% in the past 12 months, despite the axing of the Groceries Order, which banned below-cost selling. It accused the minister of presiding over "supermarket profiteering" at the expense of both consumers and producers.

Fine Gael has launched a drive to highlight what it says are unacceptably high margins enjoyed by the Republic's largest grocery chains. It claims that Superquinn, Tesco and Dunnes are charging mark-ups of up to 200% on the prices that they pay farmers for goods.

Retailers argue that the mark-ups reflect the cost of processing, packaging, ­marketing and distribution.