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Minister Bruton sleepwalking Ireland into damaging trade agreement – Tóibín

1 December, 2014

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín today accused the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation of sleepwalking Ireland into a trade agreement with the US that could cost jobs, damage the environment and obstruct progressive public policy.

Speaking at a Sinn Féin TTIP event held in Dublin today, the Sinn Féin Jobs Spokesperson said:

“Research financed by the Commission tells that that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Package (TTIP) trade deal currently being negotiated between the EU and US could cost 1.3 million jobs across Europe. 

“Claims by the Commission and the US negotiating team that TTIP could EU increase output by 0.5% by 2027 are underpinned by a necessity for more deregulation and liberalisation, two policies that have not served member states’ workers well particularly over the last decade. 

“Of particular concern is the obnoxious Investor-State Dispute Settlement (IDSD) mechanism attached to TTIP. This effectively enables corporate entities to bypass member states’ courts to an unaccountable, secretive arbitration process. Using this mechanism, corporate entities can seek financial compensation where they argue public policy has acted against their interests. Multinational cigarette manufacturers are currently using ISDS arbitration in a case against the Australian government following the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes’ in that country. 

“Despite growing opposition to the ISDS mechanism across Europe, the Jobs Minister Richard Bruton put his name to a letter by a number of EU finance and Economic Ministers restating their position that investor protection mechanisms must be included in the TTIP negotiations. There is not a single rational reason why any multinational company should need investor protections in a trade agreement between the EU and US, both developed regions of the world.

“Sinn Féin MEP for Midlands North West Matt Carthy today launched Sinn Féin’s TTIP discussion document setting out our concerns on the trade agreements implications for Ireland.” 

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