Carthy demands Varadkar withdraw Ireland’s support for Mercosur deal
“Position of FF & FG to EU trade agenda threatens Irish family farms” – SF MEP
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has called on the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to unequivocally remove Irish support for the EU mandate to negotiate the Mercosur trade deal. He was speaking in response to the letter by Mr. Varadkar to Jean Claude Junker raising ‘concerns’ about the deal. Carthy described this measure as “tokenism” and accused both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of threatening the future of the Irish family farm model due to their deferential approach to EU trade deals.
“The time for writing letters of concern on Mercosur is long past. I have repeatedly called on the government to withdraw in full its support for the European Commission mandate to negotiate this trade deal recognising the impact it will have on Irish agriculture; they have repeatedly refused to do so. In the absence of them taking that move, anything less is tokenism.
“We already know that the European Commission is willing to offer a tariff free quota of 99,000 tonnes of Brazilian beef per year into the EU. We know that other sectors are at risk too, including poultry. We know that there is nothing positive for Ireland in this deal, that it is being pursued in the interests of German car manufactures – why then is our government playing with words rather than stopping this deal?
“Coupled with other EU trade deals such as the CETA agreement with Canada (which includes provision for 50,000 tonnes of tariff free beef imports), Mercosur could become as big a threat to Irish agriculture as Brexit. However, the approach adopted by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to what is an aggressive EU trade agenda is extremely worrying. Not only have they ignored the concerns associated with most EU trade agreements, they have attacked Sinn Féin when we raised those concerns! Their deferential approach threatens the Irish family farm model.
“It is in this context that farmers should view letters from the government to the commission expressing ‘concern’. It is time that farmers mobilised, not just against the European Commission but against the government parties of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil who have given the commission free reign to trade away their future in agriculture.
“Considering the looming threat of Brexit and the inherent contradiction and hypocrisy in supporting a deal that would see the importation of huge quantities of beef from the far side of the world when Irish farmers are being told to reduce production – it is time for the government to withdraw it’s mandate from any trade deal that risks our agriculture sector and the rural economies that depend on them, including Mercosur.
“For our part we in Sinn Féin will continue to adopt a vigilant position on EU trade deals and we will refuse to join Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in rubber-stamping deals which could collectively threaten Irish farming as we know it.”