Dáil Éireann - Volume 588 - 29 June, 2004

Written Answers. - Grocery Industry.

  94. Mr. Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of submissions she has received in the past 12 months in favour of removing the ban on below-cost selling. [19390/04]

  Ms Harney:During the past 12 months, I have received one written submission recommending the revocation for a trial period of the current prohibition on below-cost selling of grocery goods. In addition, I am aware that the chairperson of the Competition Authority, in a recent speech, has repeated an earlier recommendation that the groceries order be removed.

  95. Mr. Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there has been a decline of 1.8% in the grocery market share of independent and owner managed stores here between 2003 and 2004; and her plans to address this. [19391/04]

  Ms Harney:I am not aware of the source of the data referred to in the question and, therefore, am not in a position to comment further, other than to say that fluctuations in market shares are a normal feature of competitive markets.

  96. Mr. Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her attention has been drawn to the report, Ghost Town Britain, and if she has assessed its implications for the independent retail sector here. [19392/04]

[476]   Ms Harney:The main implications of the report regarding policy matters falling within my Department’s responsibility concern competition policy, particularly regarding predatory pricing and below-cost selling of food. These are matters for which legislative provision in this country is made in the Competition Act 2002 and the Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order 1987. I am currently reviewing the 1987 order and will take into account, in so far as may be appropriate, the conclusions and recommendations of the report concerned.