12 July 2022
By Tom Collins
Some Govt agency should be tasked with monitoring alleged price gouging by service providers
West Cork Senator Tim Lombard has backed the call of his colleague, Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan, for a government agency to be tasked with monitoring price increases across utility and service providers.
Senator Lombard said: “Rising prices on energy costs, as well as utility and grocery bills, are creating a strain for many people.
“Inflation in Ireland is now at a high, at over 8 per cent, which has been driven by a sharp price increase for energy, food and other commodities since the onset of the war in Ukraine.
“The Government have introduced a number of measures worth €2.4 billion to help households and business offset these prices, although we can and must do more to address the current high cost of living.
“Of great concern to people is the possibility of prices rising further. We need to be able to identify the cause of this, and instances where there is a legitimate need for prices to be passed on to the general public, or whether some companies are engaging in the dubious practice of price gouging.
“In the current climate I think it would be beneficial to have a dedicated unit within a Government department to monitor prices set by utility and other service providers, to ensure fairness and transparency for consumers by check that companies aren’t abusing their market position and over-pricing.
“This matter has been raised in the Dáil with Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, who has confirmed he will discuss with his officials the possibility of establishing such a unit to monitor prices.
“There are many factors driving inflation, and we need to have a mechanism in place to identify cases where this is happening dishonestly as a result of price gouging by certain retailers or suppliers,” Senator Lombard concluded.