Following his previous release of commissioned
legal advice on the EU trade deal with the US (TTIP) and the denial today of
one of Belgian's regional Parliaments to allow the national parliament to sign
off on the proposed investment court, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, has this week confirmed
that independent legal advice on the re-worked Investment Chapter for the
EU-Canada Trade Agreement, otherwise known as CETA confirms that it too
breaches the Irish Constitution.
Carthy called on the new government to adopt a new position on the EU trade
agenda in advance of a vote of a ratification of CETA.
The Midlands North West MEP said
“Following an announcement from the European
Commission on 29th February that it had "legally reviewed"
its Investment Chapter, in light of the moves to replace traditional
Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) in TTIP, with a Permanent Investment
Court, I sought my own legal advice.
“The very assertive legal advice I received
from an eminent senior counsel revealed that the establishment of such a court
would be contrary to the Irish Constitution.
“Since then we have seen a “re-worked” chapter
in the CETA deal with Canada which also intends to work towards the
establishment of an International Investment Court, to which only large
corporations will have access to challenge the democratic decisions of
“The chapter explicitly states that the
parties "with other trading partners [shall pursue] the establishment of a
multilateral investment tribunal and appellate mechanism"; and all of this
without the consultation of the people.
“The very clear updated legal advice I have
received is that should the government agree to ratify the Canadian trade deal when
it comes before the European Council this summer, it would be doing so in
direct contravention of the Irish Constitution by giving away the powers of the
Irish Courts to dispense justice and the sole power of the Oireachtas to make
The development today in one of Belgium's
Regional Parliaments further solidifies the claim that this Investment Court is
completely legally unfounded.
“CETA is a bad deal for Ireland and raises
serious questions for democratic institutions.
Based on this and on the legal advice which I have sent to the Minister
it is clear that the incoming Irish government must vote against its
ratification or otherwise hold a referendum on the proposed Investment Court
before it signs Ireland up to a flawed agreement.
“I have written repeatedly to the outgoing Minister,
Richard Bruton, requesting a meeting on these issues but he has consistently refused
to engage. The European Commission have
confirmed to me that they are thoroughly examining the content of the legal
opinion I received yet the Irish government, who have a responsibility to
uphold our constitution have so far failed to do the same.
“These trade agreements are potentially very dangerous. The incoming government must protect Irish
interests. The first step in this regard
is to inform the commission that they will not ratify CETA when it comes before