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STRIP-OFF IRELAND.. Lapdance clubs join price hike culture.

Byline: By RORY SMITH

IRELAND'S rip-off culture is alive and well - and even strippers are fleecing us, a new study has revealed.

It found that punters think the price of a lapdance a rip-off along with everything else.

A dance at Stringfellows in North Dublin costs EUR30 - much more than many clients are prepared to pay.

The club has reportedly struggled for clientele and some suggest it may be facing closure - a claim vehemently denied by owner Peter Stringfellow.

But a source at the club said: "It is not a cheap night out. After entry and drinks, a dance costs EUR30.

"Ireland may be more liberal socially but in many ways we're still very conservative."

But strip clubs are not alone - a major new report out yesterday reveals almost EVERY section of Irish life is being accompanied by the rip-off tag.

And now experts warn the scandal is ruining our reputation overseas.

The study also found that shops are seen as most likely to swindle customers, with more consumers being forced to travel across the border to shop.

And it also found that rip-off Ireland has spread to the cost of cars, drinks, bank fees and taxes.

Even priests' sermons and burial plots have been blasted as too pricey by furious consumers.

The three-year study, carried out by MediaMarket, examined the damage done to Ireland as a brand by rip-off culture. And it found that the country's reputation with consumers is in tatters. It ranked a devastating 1,364 on a Corporate Reputation scale - used to find out how respected a brand is in the media.

MediaMarket managing director Michael Farrelly said: "Our research clearly shows there has been considerable damage done to the Ireland brand.

"Individual sectors need an authoritative voice, clear direction and defined goals. Some sectors are clearly trying but others are in dire need of some PR rehab.

"A value for money message will go some way towards rebuilding reputations and the Ireland brand."

ONLY the tourism and phone industries come out of the damning report with any credit.

ComReg, the phone watchdog, demanded changes to the mobile phone industry to bring an end to soaring charges.

And Failte Ireland was praised for its campaign to make people aware of the "rip-off cliche".

But the property and insurance sectors were among the least trusted with almost all press coverage negative.

news@irishmirror.ie

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BOOZE BLUES: Pub drinkers feel hard done by' BUM DEAL: Visits to strip clubs can be costly
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 24, 2006
Words:416
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