An Irish parliamentary committee has called for an investigation of possible anti-competitive practices by large supermarket chains in the Republic along the lines of the UK inquiry.

The Committee on Enterprise and Small Business, representative of all the main parties, recommends the Competition Authority investigate "as a matter of urgency".

A report said that some of the multiples being investigated there "are major operators in the Irish market".

The committee wants a probe into the extent to which multiples have acquired large land banks in particular areas to keep out competitors. It wants retailers vacating sites to be banned from restrictive covenants to prevent another food store moving in and a reform of planning laws to ensure competition.

Tax authorities should examine "the extent to which multiples are manipulating transaction costs to reduce VAT liability".

It called for greater transparency in Irish grocery, particularly on the disclosure of turnover and profitability by the multiples, with legislation forcing disclosure.

The report, which goes to the government for consideration advocates greater co-operation between the Republic and UK on retail issues such as the support of small shops.