Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has slammed the decision of Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor to deny a Dáil debate on the Canada-EU Comprehensive and Economic Free Trade Agreement (CETA).
He said the decision shows contempt for democracy and that ratification of CETA in Ireland requires a referendum.
Matt Carthy said:
“I have made repeated calls on Minister Mitchell O’Connor to come forward with a clear timeline for a debate and vote on CETA in the Dáil as well as a referendum on the issue.
“Her failure to do so shows a complete disregard for the Irish Constitution, the justice system, as well as contempt for the Dáil, the Seanad – which last year rejected CETA – and above all the people.
“Provisional application of the trade agreement commenced on February 15th 2017, and soon 95% of the agreement will in force, despite the fact that the Dáil has not debated it.
“Almost all CETA’s provisions, save those on the establishment of a multilateral Permanent Investment Court, will be soon be in operation.
“At no point in the CETA negotiation process did Minister Mitchell O’Connor or the Irish Government explain how they intended to address these sovereignty issues leaving us in danger of violating our own Constitution.
“At no point either did they address the deep concerns voiced by the Seanad last year.
“France, Belgium and Bulgaria have all said they will put the deal before their Constitutional Courts.
“The sheer arrogance of the Minister and the Government in refusing a Dáil debate is an absolute disgrace and a denial of democracy.
“There is no support in Ireland for an unaccountable international court with the powers to call Irish laws into question.
“It is impossible for Ireland to ratify CETA so long as it contravenes the Irish Constitution.
“A referendum is required on this deal or we risk setting a dangerous precedent for our courts. I have unsuccessfully sought a meeting with the Minister to discuss these matters in detail.
“I want to commend my party colleague Maurice Quinlivan TD for raising this matter in the Dáil and for pursuing the Minister on it.
“This sheer arrogance of Mary Mitchell O’Connor and the Fine Gael Government in refusing a Dáil debate a matter of serious consequence for workers, farmers and citizens, is an absolute disgrace.
“The government must reverse this decision which completely flies in the face of democratic procedures.”