A high-powered strategy group investigating prices and how to reduce them has been set up by the government in Ireland.
The group, comprising economists, legal experts and entrepreneurs, is to examine why Irish prices are the highest in the euro zone and how to reduce them, as well as advising on policy measures to strengthen consumer rights.
It will report back in nine months time.
Ireland’s trade and enterprise minister Mary Harney said: “The time has come to put an end to the horror stories of rip-off Ireland. And that can only happen if consumers are given more power, more voice and more influence.”
Harney said that even where there was intense competition between retailers, there were still prices that were out of step with other EU countries. “There is no obvious reason for these price differences, and they cannot be explained by higher wages, insurance premiums and property prices.”
The group is expected to examine the republic’s below-cost selling ban.