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Actions of tobacco companies should serve as wake up call to dangers of TTIP – Carthy

17 February, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Commenting today on reports that JTI Ireland (owner of Benson and Hedges and Silk Cut) are to take legal action against the Government on foot of proposals to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has stated that the actions of the tobacco companies should serve as a warning for the Government on the potential dangers of the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Carthy said:

“One of the elements of TTIP is an Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which allows private companies sue the state in investor led tribunals outside of the normal court system.

“It allows private companies to take action under ISDS when there is a projected loss of profits and as it currently stands, there is no provision for an appeal mechanism.

“ISDS is the mechanism by which Canada is being sued for its moratorium on fracking and Australia has been sued by the Tobacco Companies on foot of its public health measures against smoking.

“There can be no doubt that ISDS, if implemented, would make it much simpler for Tobacco Companies to succeed against the Government and reduce the ability of member states to make laws which protect citizens.

“The fact that Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has already signed a letter supporting the ISDS mechanism, without recourse to the Oireachtas and in the absence of a clear analysis of the potential consequences of this trade agreement on Ireland, is remarkably short sighted.

"I am calling on the Government to wake up, see the potential danger of ISDS and take steps to ensure that Ireland's interests are protected as the TTIP talks continue."ENDS

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