The body that represents the independent grocery sector has said a parking levy should be introduced in out-of-town shopping centres.

The Retail Grocery Dairy & Allied Trades Association (RGDATA) has published a report on the impact of high parking charges in town centres.

It said parking charges are killing off businesses in towns across the country.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, RGDATA General Director Tara Buckley said that in the interest of fairness, cash-strapped local authorities should charge a levy for parking in out-of-town centres too.

She said councils were turning people off the "sustainable" practice of coming into towns to do their shopping and walking around going from shop to shop.

Shoppers are being pushed out to the free parking in out-of-town centres, she added.

Ms Buckley said: "We believe that there should be a level playing field between the two and, if you're going to be charged for parking in the town, you should be charged for parking in out-of-town centres."