EXODUS; Thousands now travel to North for their WEEKLY shop Stores like Aldi and Lidl will bring about huge change CREDIT CRUNCH CRISIS.
THOUSANDS of Irish people are heading across the border for their weekly shop, a documentary will reveal tonight.
As Environment Minister John Gormley yesterday tried to halt the exodus, a TV3 programme Crunch Time: The Price We Pay exposes how consumers who used to visit the North once a month are now going every week in a desperate bid to save money.
Presenter Karen Coleman said: "We spent a day in Sainsburys in Newry and there were phenomenal numbers there from the Republic.
"We talked to people from all over the country who are travelling across the border every week because they refuse to be ripped off by supermarkets here.
"There was a substantial difference between the North and South in the price of alcohol, confectionery, children's toiletries etc."
The programme investigates why we are paying so much in the Republic.
Ms Coleman added: "We are told it is the high cost of running businesses here, wages and VAT - all off these are said to contribute to the difference in prices.
"With the changing economy, people are tightening their purse strings and I think the gap is going to close.
"The expansion of discount stores like Aldi and Lidl in Ireland will bring about a massive change. People used to be snobby about shopping in discount shops but not any more - they are too price conscious now."
The documentary also follows a pint of milk from one farmer to the shop shelf.
John Keane is a farmer from Tralee, Co Kerry, who has been farming for 30 years and he gets 32c for every litre of milk he produces but it sells for up to EUR1.40 in shops.
Ms Coleman said: "Everybody seems to be profiting except the farmer."
Consumers Association of Ireland chief Dermott Jewell said that nobody is being up front about the prices being carried to the public.
The show will be aired tonight at 10pm on TV3.
People used to be snobby about discount shops but not any more
PRESENTER KAREN COLEMAN
RAW DEAL Farmers lose out; TRADE People are shopping more across the border