Opposition members in the Irish parliament are calling for a study into why the abolition of the groceries order has failed to bring about lower food prices.
Inflation has hit 4%, the highest for three years, with food prices rising, even of some items previously covered by the order, which banned below-cost selling.
Dan Boyle, Green Party finance spokesman, said: &aquot;Abolishing the order has had the effect those of us who opposed its removal said it would have - that of creating higher profit margins for the multiples.&aquot;
He called for an independent investigation &aquot;to find out who has benefited from the abolition&aquot; but added: &aquot;That investigation must not be carried out by the Competition Authority, which acted as cheerleader for removal of the order.&aquot;
His views were endorsed by Labour Party member Kathleen Lynch. She said abolition of the order had been &aquot;a total failure that has not helped lower prices one single bit&aquot;.
Trade minister Micheál Martin, who repealed the ban, dismissed the criticisms as &aquot;simplistic&aquot; and said that the impact of reform would not take effect for at least a year.
Ann Fitzgerald, chair of the National Consumer Agency, said that the body would campaign against the &aquot;rip-off Republic&aquot;.