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Cork TDs call for price caps on essential items to stop retailers exploiting the coronavirus outbreak

From EchoLive.

SEVERAL Cork TDs have called for price caps on hand sanitizer to be introduced after multiple retailers have hiked their prices amid coronavirus fears. On Friday, the French government implemented a limitation on how much the now much-coveted product can be sold for.

Applicable until the end of May, a 50ml bottle is capped at €2, 100ml at €3 and 300ml at €5 and a litre at €15. There have now been calls for Ireland to follow suit.

Solidarity TD Mick Barry has said it is now time that the Irish Government implement price controls to “prevent profiteering from the coronavirus crisis.

“It is disgusting to see some businesses trying to exploit this crisis to make money,” he said.

“The Government should follow the example of France and take action this week to ban it,” Mr Barry continued.

The Cork North Central TD said that the price of hand sanitizers should be capped now but if the price of food or other essentials needs to be capped in the weeks ahead then the Government should not hesitate to do so.

He has also noted that the State should intervene to ensure that free hand sanitizer is available in public buildings, public spaces, public transport, workplaces and shops.

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central, Padraig O’Sullivan, also expressed his disappointment that certain pharmacies and retailers have hiked up their prices in recent days.

“I have been made aware of cases whereby pharmacies are charging €19 for a 500ml bottle of hand gel. This is a clear exploitation of the situation. People are clearly worried about the spread of the virus and want to take steps to prevent infection but they are being taken advantage of,” he added.

Mr O’Sullivan has written to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission asking them to investigate these unfair practices and has stated that Ireland should consider following in the footsteps of France in implementing price limitations.

“At a time when society should be working together to protect overall public health I find it deeply disappointing that some businesses are seeking to exploit these exceptional circumstances,” Mr O’Sullivan said.