Chef attacks Irish critics but report points to soaring prices

Irish chef Darina Allen, owner of the celebrated Ballymaloe Cookery School, has hit back at critics who complain about the country's restaurant prices and compare them unfavourably with those of other euro-zone states.

And she warned that what she called 'this unfair criticism' could lead to corners being cut in the trade to reduce costs, which would result in poor-quality food that would tarnish Ireland's reputation.

But her remarks came as a report prepared for the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, the umbrella body for the trade, added further fuel to the prices controversy. It showed that while Irish inflation over the past six years rose by 22%, the highest in the European Union, restaurant and hotel prices in the same period went up by more than 32%.