Speaking following last Frisday's publication of the Copenhagan Economics Report commissioned by the Irish Government into the effects of the proposed TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on the Irish Economy, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy said that it is now beyond question that the deal could have devastating consequences for Rural Ireland.
“The report commissioned by the Government is flawed but it couldn't but admit the fact that the Irish beef sector is under serious threat as a result of the proposed trade deal between the EU and the US.
“Beef is one of our most important indigenous industries, making up over half of all farms in Ireland and we rely heavily on the European Market where we export over 90% of all beef product.
“Ireland is currently the largest exporter of beef within the EU and the 5th largest exporter of beef in the world.
“According to the report, there are over 77,000 farms across Ireland dependent on the beef sector with a high proportion of these (over 20,000) centred in the western counties of Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
“The report indicates that the opening up of the EU market to US beef producers will result in increased competition for Irish farmers and will lead to a decline in Irish exports.
“This will result in the loss of jobs at all skill levels of the beef sector. This comes on top of a report by the CSO which shows a steep decline in the number of jobs in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing.
“There can be no doubt about it – a bad TTIP deal could devastate rural Ireland and this Government must make a clear commitment to ensure that the Irish beef sector is protected in these negotiations. “