Concerns that a shortage and the rising cost of fuel are affecting the price of goods and business margins.

The Small Firms Association has said that it is concerned about the effect continuing increases in petrol prices will have on Irish business.

Already this week, three of the major oil companies have increased the price of petrol by about two pence a litre.

For Dublin company Con Transport the spiralling price of petrol over the past year has cost £40,000 extra on top of a fuel bill already amounting to over a quarter of a million pounds.

This latest hike is the final straw.

Niall Hickey, managing director of Con Transport, says that many businesses are now living close to the edge as their margins are in decline. Niall Hickey says that as the margins have fallen, businesses are making no money.

Another challenge facing Ireland's tiger economy.

Dermot O'Kane of the Irish National Petroleum Corporation outlines what is causing fuel prices to increase. In the last year, the dollar strengthened by about 10 per cent against the Irish pound which in turn is worth about one and a half pence a litre of fuel. In addition, a further increase in international petrol prices in August as a result of a shortage of supply. Stocks of petrol worldwide are now at a ten year low.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 22 August 1997. The reporter is Anne Marie Smyth.