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Ferris Supports Farmers Protest Against WTO Concessions

26 February, 2008

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD attended a protest this afternoon at the offices of the EU Commission in Dublin. The protest was organised by the Irish Farmers Association to protest against the negotiating stance of Peter Mandelson at the World Trade Organisation.

Deputy Ferris said: "Of particular concern to Irish farmers and others involved in the sector is the offer by the Trade Commissioner to open up the EU to imports of meat from South America. That would lead to drastic cuts in stocking levels in this country with consequent knock on effects for the processing sector and job losses.

"Given the clear disparity in health and safety - as indeed has recently been recognised by the decision to impose a ban on the import of Brazilian beef - such an opening would be disastrous. Irish and other EU farmers cannot hope to compete with producers who do not have to comply with the same regulations that in force here across a whole range of issues from animal safety to the protection of those working in the industry. It would also represent a grave danger to consumer safety.

"If Commissioner Mandelson is allowed to proceed it will represent another example of bad decisions being taken at EU level without it would appear much being done or being capable of being done by the Irish Government to prevent it. The Irish Government must make its voice heard on behalf of Irish farmers and consumers and should be arguing against any further diminution of Irish economic sovereignty on such a crucial issue." ENDS

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