end corruption,stroke politics, & incompetent administration

Cheaper by far in France/Germany/Austria.

This is an ordinary consumers (me) amateur study of prices of everyday commodities,in two branches of a specific, european wide supermarket group called Lidl.

It comparing prices in just two stores, one located in a small town called Oloron in the Pyrenees mountains where I holidayed in July 2005, ( south of France), and one located in the capital of Ireland ,Dublin.

My knowledge of these stores in different parts of Europe is restricted to Austria,France Germany and Ireland.

General observations; They appear to have a policy of sourcing as much grocery items as possible from the particular country in which their stores are located. Likewise with wines.In large countries like France this would be subdivided into regions.For example the stock of wines in the south of france branches would more reflect the produce of that region while still carrying a limited general stock from different regions in the country, and even Australian American and Chilean wines,giving the consumer a wide choice.

This makes sense as purchasing locally sourced products reduces their transport costs considerably.

Nevertheless even in countries as geographically isolated as Ireland they appear to have a hugely efficient delivery structure,given the enormous cost of transporting goods across the most expensive ferry route in Europe -the irish sea.

Ireland appears to be a particularly difficult operational area for them in sourcing local confectionery,meat,dairy products and fresh vegetables.

I note that much of their confectionery-and some of their food items such as factory prepared frozen fish and pork pies etc, and particularly excellent value quality cheddar cheeses; incredibly appears to be from (sterling!) british based manufacturers.

Much of the remainder ,items like frozen pizzas and packaged ham, cooked meats,gourmet bread, etc from as far afield as Italy and Germany.

Some of the items I have listed are not availible in the irish stores,some are.I have indicated this where necessary and have only compared identical products and their pricing structures which appear to me to be reasonable in the differential of operating in one of the most expensive countries in the world in which to run a business of any nature..

The party is cheaper by far in France.

Lidyl France price                                                         Lidyl Irish price

1 litre glass bottle pure orange juice: 69cents (Equiv quality not Availible in Ireland)

One and a half litres of pure orange juice: 63cents  irish price 99cents  50% more

Premium Pils can(half litre) beer 50cents irish price € 1-15cents

Bottle Chilean red wine, € 1-29cents irish price € 4-99cents



Litre and a half sparkling mineral water 26cents irish price 49cents

6 pack (half litre) mineral water 89cents irish price € 1-79cents

4 choclate chip muffins € 1-29 irish price € 1-59cents

Iced marbled cake € 1-59 irish price € 1-79cents

1 kilo tomatoes € 1-39 irish price € 2-78cents    -double the price!

Large Lasagne Bolognese € 2-99 irish price € 3-79cents

Superior baked ham(no added water)Kilo € 6-75(italian) irish price(german) € 11-89cents

Gruyere cheese,kilo € 6-29 N.A.Ireland

Ciabatta bread (italian) sealed package € 99cents irish price 99 cents No change!

Dutch Edam cheese,kilo €4-89 irish price € 5-80

box(round) french Camembert € -95cents irish price € 1-59cents more than 50% extra

Goats milk 180 grams round in wrapping only €1-00 N.A. Ireland (pity, its lovely.!)

butter250 gms, 89cents and € 1-09. irish price 454 gms € 1-42cents       33% extra!

natural yogurt 6 pack(900 grams) 65 cents N.A.Ireland     similiar quality irish product 100% extra

pizza Mozerella (2 pack) € 2-79cents irish price N.A.

fresh chicken class A kilo €2-35cents irish price €2-49cents

Sirloin steak, kilo € 13-49cents ( never stocked in irish stores?)

Leg of new Zealand lamb,kilo € 8-13cents     (rarely in irish stores) But Availible in Sainsburys Newry.

Fresh eggs,10 pack € 79cents irish price €1-25cents  50% extra

sugar,1 kilo 89cents  irish price 86cents             3 cents cheaper in Ireland!!

Spagetti 500 grams 25cents irish price 27cents  minimal difference here.

Pasta,kilo, 89cents irish price € 1-19cents

Biscuits orange/cherry 300 grams 95cents irish price € 1-29cents

Pure butter tea biscuits2x 200gms twin pack 69cents    Bargains like this not offered in Ireland.

Bar choclate 200grams € 1-25cents irish price € 1-29cents (not so bad)

Pizza Marguerita(3 pack ) 900grams € 1-69cents irish price € 2-49cents  80% extra

natural yogurt 500 gram tub, 59cents irish price 59cents  No change!

Fruit flavours 500 grams 59cents irish price 89cents  50% extra

My only general comment is that precious little appears to be sourced in Ireland.And who can blame them for that.Soon we will be importing everything -except our sirloin steak and creamery butter-from France Germany and Italy. 'Rip off Ireland 'is a doomsday scenario if the yankees ever leave our shores.!

Tax upon tax, as Europe's workers  pay for one subsidy after another;

The fact that Fianna Fail (Mary Coughlan) have,in July 2005, announced   grants of taxpayers funds, estimated to amount to one billion euros to Ireland's 120 thousand farmers, and piggeries to reduce the long standing nitrate /sileage pollution of our rivers ,lakes,and drinking water, should  be a cause for celebration. This exercise is taking place at the eleventh hour only because Brussels have threatened Ireland with massive fines for dragging their heels on this issue for the past decade. Given the case that most of these farmers produce appears to be  unmarketable in Ireland, (and Europe),we would all be far better off if these parasites just took their decoupling pensions and setaside payments and discontinued farming activity completely. Instead they further drain the pockets of our citizens,to pay for beef  shipped off to Egypt ,Libya,and other exotic third world markets at massively discounted (subsidized) prices. 

Subsidy heaped upon subsidy. Total madness. Ireland could return to something like a well run country such as Austria (which I visit every year) if a halt was called to  this 'government by proxy' of the Irish Farmers Association .

 Austria is a green oasis of clean rivers and lakes .(although the farmers still manage to produce saleable beef,cheese and dairy products  without getting a fortune in grants from their government)

The public may make submissions to the new 'National Consumer Agency, run by Celia and Michael Martin,but the cut off date is only 3 weeks after it was set up !(July 31st)  Presumeably they have enough compaints to be going on with already.. If you are unhappy about these huge price disparities, apparently rip-off prices etc, dont blame Aldi or Lidl. They have to transport produce from Europe by very expensive ferry  crossing ,and sell it in a country with enormously high overheads, rates, wages,etc. And they are still cheaper by far than the indigenous rip off supermarket chains.

 We have a suggested type letter ;

Dear Politicians,

We the people of Ireland do not need or want or asked for, your quango to be set up. There is much more important legislation awaiting your attention than Grocery Bills Orders, and such like interference with the grocery trade.The arrival of both Aldi and Lidl to our shores has heralded a new era of "competition rather than cartel "as we suffered heretofore. Supermarkets are one of the few areas in the economy at present where real competition is alive and active.We also have the public accounts committee doing a fine job in addressing the more important issues such as wanto waste of public funds. Perhaps you,and Celia etc could re-locate yourself to Michael Noonan's more useful entity.

Yours faithfully, etc

The end of manufacturing in Ireland looms

Foreign competition,and rising prices in Ireland cost workers jobs.

 Cadbury meltdown (the jobs-not the choclate. A true story of a choc-aholic- voting with his pocket! )

29 October 2006 By Kathleen Barrington (Sunday business post)
I can’t help noticing that recent changes in my family’s chocolate-eating habits happen to coincide with a major downturn in the fortunes of Cadbury Ireland.

I can’t help noticing that recent changes in my family’s chocolate-eating habits happen to coincide with a major downturn in the fortunes of Cadbury Ireland. So I was saddened, but not surprised, to learn earlier this month that Cadbury plans to close its manufacturing plant in north Dublin if a rationalisation plan involving about 450 job cuts is not accepted.

Pressure has been mounting on Cadbury from foreign chocolate imports, particularly since German retailers Aldi and Lidl arrived in the Irish market offering continental-style chocolate at bargain-basement prices.

Last week, for instance, you could buy a 100g bar of Fin Carre milk chocolate in Lidl for 49 cent.

That compares with a 100g bar of Cadburys milk chocolate which usually retails at €1.29.

In other words, the 100g bar of Cadbury’s is 163 per cent dearer than the continental-style bar from Lidl. The price differential is all the more astonishing when you consider that continental chocolate is generally seen by chocolate connoisseurs as superior to our own, due to its higher cocoa content.

However, it would appear that many Irish consumers continued to prefer the taste of Cadbury and that many continued to reach for the familiar purple packaging despite the price differential. This preference may have temporarily spared Cadbury from feeling the full impact of the stiffer competition from new entrants.

But more recently, some of the continental retailers have begun to sell Cadbury-style chocolate at even more attractive prices - creating a competition nightmare for the company, which employs 1,100 people at its Coolock plant in Dublin.

Last week, for instance, Lidl was selling a 200g whole nut chocolate bar for 88 cent. The bar and the packaging were designed to suggest that this was a product comparable to Cadburys. But there is an enormous price difference.

The Lidl bar works out at €4.40 a kilo compared with €12.90 a kilo for a bar of Cadbury’s at the usual retail price.

In other words, the bar of Cadbury’s will generally cost you about 193 per cent more than the Cadbury’s lookalike from Lidl.

Cadbury’s response to the threat from cheaper chocolate providers has been to slash prices, but only on some products and only some of the time. For instance, in recent months, my local Spar has occasionally been selling a 100g bar of Cadbury’s for just 99 cent.

The curious thing is that the 99 cent bars, whose price is emblazoned in bright red, sit right beside the identical, regular bars which cost €1.29 each.

The result is that a customer who buys two bars arrives at the checkout to find that he is being charged two different prices for the same bar.

When this happened to my unsuspecting husband, it had the effect of educating him about the price of chocolate with the result that he now hardly ever buys Cadbury.

More recently, the Cadbury offer has changed. Now, the bargain 100g bar is on offer at a price of €1.09 - the lower price is emblazoned in red on the bar. Again, the cheaper bar sits right beside the identical, dearer bar which is priced at €1.29.

It is notable that even when Cadbury cuts the price of a 100g bar of chocolate from €1.29 to €1.09 a bar - effectively a 15 per cent price cut - it is still more than twice as dear as the bars currently on sale at Lidl.

It would appear that Cadbury felt compelled to slash its prices in order to meet the stiff competition it is facing in the retail chocolate market.

The fact that its price cuts have been done in a ham-fisted way, which only draws further attention to the high price of its chocolate, is unfortunate. But the real problem facing Cadbury is that it risks financial meltdown if it meets the foreign chocolate challengers head on.

So far, Cadbury has fought a few, local skirmishes, but it appears unable to commit to a full price war as this might cause further damage to its bottom line at a time when its profits are already under intense pressure.

Cadbury earlier this month told staff that profits at its Irish operation had halved in just four years, while the costs of running the factory had increased by 26 per cent over the period.

The company is reportedly blaming higher wages and soaring energy, insurance and waste disposal costs for the proposed job losses.

Cadbury is not alone in facing this dilemma. Several large multinationals including Green Isle Foods and fibre manufacturer Wellman International have all warned recently that energy price rises agreed by the energy regulator could lead to the closure or relocation of their operations and large-scale job losses.

Wellman, which employs 300 people in Co Meath, stated in a letter to Electricity Regulator Tom Reeves earlier this month that: ‘‘I do not exaggerate when I say that the increases in electricity costs currently foreseen for 2007 could be sufficient of themselves to force this company into liquidation."

Also earlier this month, state agency Forfas warned in a report that the number of jobs in manufacturing had fallen by 31,000 over the last five years as Irish firms became less competitive due to the rising cost of doing business here.

Overall, industrial electricity prices are now 30 per cent higher in the Republic than in Britain, while gas is 20 per cent more expensive here.

The recent Forfas report showed that electricity costs for a typical medium-sized enterprise amount to €10.47 per kwh in Ireland compared with just €6.96 in Britain.

The government must move urgently to address the issue of soaring costs in the energy sector or it will face more large-scale job cuts in manufacturing.

It could start by tackling the ESB, where average pay works out at €71,700 a year, or roughly double the average industrial wage, according to figures quoted by Open Republic, the free market think tank.

It is time the government asked itself whether it is fair that workers at Cadbury in Coolock or Wellman in Co Meath should have to pay with their jobs in order to keep the ESB’s permanent and pensionable workers in the style to which they have become accustomed in recent years.