Louth TD Ged Nash slams ‘charade’ Retail Forum on cost of living crisis

Labour Party Louth TD Ged Nash.

Drogheda Independent

Labour’s spokesperson on finance, Deputy Ged Nash TD, has accused the government of being “all mouth and no trousers” when it comes to tackling inflated prices at the supermarket checkout, in the wake of Wednesday’s meeting of the Retail Forum.

Earlier in the week, Deputy Nash said a clear list of actions was needed from this Retail Forum that would result in alleviating the pressure on working people’s pockets and remove the dread they feel as they approach the checkout at the end of the weekly shop.

“What we got instead is more pleading and hoping from the government and Minister Richmond that the supermarkets will see fit to cooperate and play fair,” said the Louth TD. “Hope is not a policy and pleading is not action. This charade of a meeting shows that when it comes to bringing grocery bills down, this government is all mouth and no trousers.”

Two weeks ago in the Dáil, Deputy Nash called on the Taoiseach to consider introducing price controls on staple items in the weekly household grocery basket. On that occasion, the Taoiseach ruled price control measures out and said: “We do not want to go down that road.”

“The truth is this government has been blindsided by this issue and they are making up their response as they go along. They had no idea this would strike such a chord with the Irish people and that is because they are hopelessly out of touch with the reality of working people’s lives in this country”.

Deputy Nash said the government is obliged to intervene where a market fails.

“What we need now is not more words, but action on behalf of the government to bring grocery prices down. We need a serious analysis from the CCPC on pricing in the grocery sector and we need the giant supermarkets to be more transparent on their profits,” he concluded.

Meanwhile Retail Ireland issued a statement in the wake of the meeting, saying retailers are actively working to minimise the impact on consumers of massive EU-wide commodity price increases and this will continue

“Irish food inflation has been amongst the lowest in Europe over recent years. Average EU food inflation has been 27% over the last two years, in Ireland it was 17%. In the last year, average EU food inflation has been 19%, in Ireland it was 13%. Prior to the recent period of inflation, Irish food prices fell for over ten years, driven by intense price competition in the market,” said a spokesperson.

“There is a significant lag in how energy and commodity cost increases translate into consumer prices. Retailers held off increasing prices for a long as possible last year, but could not absorb the massive cost increases indefinitely. We expect general inflation and food inflation to ease as we move through the year.”