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Comments by Fine Gael MEP in relation to TTIP are misguided and patronising - Carthy

5 January, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Responding to remarks published today by Seán Kelly MEP in relation to the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership(TTIP) negotiations, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy has said that there are very real concerns with aspects of TTIP and it is simply not good enough to “wait and see” what the negotiations bring.

Carthy said:

“A number of Irish MEPs unfortunately seem to be of the view that it is absolutely fine to wait and see what the negotiations bring before getting too excited about the content of the TTIP negotiations.

“While on the surface this approach may appear to be quite sensible, the reality is that this agreement will be presented to the European Parliament in its entirety with only an option to accept or reject the whole agreement. This means that it will be much more difficult if not practically impossible to take action to protect the interests of Ireland once the negotiations have concluded.

“The attitude of Mr Kelly and other MEPs on this issue will remind many of the lazy politics of the past which has ensured that the best interests of Ireland remain last on the agenda while our supposed representatives remain afraid to upset the applecart at a European Level.

“In my view the remarks attributed to Sean Kelly this week were quite patronising and misguided – he suggests that those who express concern regarding TTIP do not understand the potential benefits and are simply opposing the Agreement for the sake of it.

“The reality is there are a number of genuine concerns with the TTIP negotiations, which Mr Kelly fails to address in any real way. The European Commission itself concedes that TTIP is likely to bring about the “prolonged and substantial” dislocation of workers with some commentators suggesting that up to 1 million across the EU could be affected.

“Similarly, there are legitimate concerns surrounding the secrecy in which the negotiations have been conducted, the controversial ISDS mechanism which allows investors to sue member states for loss of revenue outside of the normal courts system and Minister Simon Coveney has already acknowledged concerns around the impact of TTIP on the beef sector in particular.

“It is also not clear upon what basis the Irish Government can ensure the adequate protection of Ireland’s interests in the negotiations given the fact that the study commissioned by the Government into the effects of TTIP on Ireland, at the cost of €215,000 exc VAT, has yet to be completed and its findings made public.

“It is vitally important that a substantial public debate on the proposed TTIP Agreement takes place with all relevant stakeholders sooner rather than later in order to ensure that we protect the interests of this country to the maximum extent possible.

“As a contribution to that debate I have published a discussion document outlining the potential consequences of TTIP across a range of areas. Irish MEP’s, and our government, should be working together to protect the interests of the communities we represent.”

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