After three years of deliberations, Ireland's Competition and Mergers Review Group has submitted a report calling for an end to the ban on below cost selling as laid out in the Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order 1987. Publishing the report, trade minister Mary Harney said competition was needed to control inflation and ensure the continued success of the economy. However she expressed concern at the prospect of the market being dominated by one or two big chains. And she spoke of the need to "ensure that suppliers, and in particular small companies and new entrants, have fair access to a range of outlets". Harney will now consult with industry before deciding ­ possibly in September ­ whether to lift the ban. Only last month the Irish Competition Authority also denounced the ban as "damaging consumer interests". But Pat Delaney, director of the Small Firms Association, claimed to remove the ban would be a big mistake: "The outcome would be a price war in which suppliers and small retail shops would be marginalised." Michael Campbell, director general of RGDATA, the trade body for independent retailers said: "It ignores the reality of the market. To repeal the Order would be regressive. It would disadvantage consumers, suppliers and retailers." {{NEWS }}