Irish butchers cry sabotage

Irish butchers have hit out at consumer leaders for what they describe as "sabotaging" their businesses.

Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland said it was horrified at the comments made by acting chief executive of the National Consumer Agency, Ann Fitzgerald, which said 'if consumers want to save money they are much better off doing their weekly shop in large multiples or Supervalu'.

The comments prompted one Irish paper to carry the headline: "Local stores charging up to 20% more".

Pat Brady, from ACBI, said: "This is an outrageous act of sabotage against small food retailers of whom, for example 1300 butchers still remain.

"We realise that meat, among other products was excluded from this survey but Ms Fitzgerald's comments in or out of context (and they were headlined in both) represents shocking irresponsibility and she should clarify the position."

He said recent surveys had in fact show butchers to be cheaper than multiples and said price was simply one factor behind consumer behaviour.

"In relation to food there are many other issues. They include diversity and choice, nutrition and the environment where large supermarkets have a lot to answer for. That a state agency should demonstrate such naked partisanship in the marketplace and reckless disregard for the inevitable headlines it generated is deplorable."

He added: "ACBI will a formal complaint to the minister and make the suggestion that a person with such an attitude to small business should not be granted a more permanent role in a position with the potential to inflict serious damage on small business."

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