Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (66)

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

137 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on the issue of below-cost selling and the wisdom or otherwise of a ban. [3726/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Enterprise)

Below-cost selling raises difficult issues in the area of competition and consumer law and many countries, including Ireland, maintain specific regulatory restrictions directed against the practice. Since all restrictions which restrain the operation of free markets need to be periodically examined and justified, I am currently looking at the Groceries Order 1987 and hope to make a further announcement on the matter very shortly.

Most people would agree that free and fair markets are better at regulating prices than Governments. Government does, however, have the vital responsibility to ensure that markets are working effectively for consumers and that is the perspective in which I am reviewing the groceries order.