Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has said that it is unacceptable that the EU-Mercosur trade deal remains an open prospect in light of the current challenges facing Ireland’s agrifood sector. He called on the government to immediately end any further progress of the agreement, which would allow for the importation of 100,000 additional tonnes of beef into the EU market.
McGuinness represents Ireland on the European Committee of the Regions, which gives local and regional authorities a voice at EU level.
The West Waterford representative said:
“It is beyond ironic that, while in Ireland, there has been a sustained discussion on the role of agriculture in our domestic carbon emissions, the Brazilian meat industry was unveiling plans to increase the cattle herd there by 6.5million in order to meet projected export demand.
“This increase represents the equivalent of this state’s entire beef and dairy herd.
“Meanwhile, EU Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius has indicated that he expects the EU-Mercosur trade deal to advance by the end of this year, thereby facilitating the importation of a significant amount of that Brazilian beef into Europe.
“Irish farmers can and must take measures to reduce emissions. But we cannot expect those actions to be taken while the European Commission is preparing to sign off on a trade deal that will undo any positive impact of our domestic actions.
“Due to pressure from farm organisations and Sinn Féin, government ministers have told the Dáil that they are now opposed to the EU-Mercosur trade deal. But, it appears that they have yet to tell the European Commission.
“Ireland has a veto on this trade deal, and the government must inform the EU that we intend to use it and thereby end any further progress on this disastrous agreement.
“Otherwise, government parties will lose all credibility on their recent Climate Action rhetoric.
“The Mercosur trade deal offers nothing positive for Ireland. It is bad for our most important indigenous sector, bad for our overall economy and disastrous for the environment.
“It must be rejected, now.”