Leading retailers on Ireland’s top shopping street have petitioned the European Parliament to flag up the “anti-competitive” upward-only rents system amid fears that the Irish government is “dragging its heels” on its pledge to abolish the system.

The Grafton Street Tenants Association is backed by retailers including Boots, La Senza and Topman.

John Corcoran, a spokesman for the association, feared the issue could be forgotten as the government’s priorities have changed. He feared the government might feel abolishing upward-only rent reviews at the present time would undermine its new lending initiative.

As such, he has taken the issue to Europe amid worries the government may now renege on its pledge.

The association is seeking the removal of upward-only rent review clauses in current leases, as well as the introduction of mandatory break clauses after seven years.
Corcoran hoped Europe would find the practice “illegal and anti-competitive”.

Retail Excellence Ireland chief executive David Fitzsimons, who had a meeting on this issue with Ireland’s deputy prime minister Mary Coughlan this week, said upward-only rent reviews are “untenable, unsustainable and ridiculous”.

He is pushing the Irish government to “allow the renegotiation of existing leases in a retrospective manner” but believes that the government “will act” on the promise it made in July to abolish the system.