THE cost of food and rent pushed up overall inflation in Ireland last month despite a drop in alcohol, clothes and petrol prices.
Air fares soared by almost 12pc in the past month, bringing the annual increase to 25pc.
The Central Statistics Office said that the cost of living is now 2.7pc greater than the same period last year.
In the last year the price of food has increased 0.8pc, petrol is up 13.7pc and insurance is up 14.5pc.
ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said: "The constant theme among businesses struggling to survive is the increasing costs of doing business in this country, in particular the costs of rates, rents, energy, transport, labour and local charges."