Rural Dublin must not be sacrificed at altar of Free Trade – Louise O’Reilly
Sinn Féin General Election candidate for Dublin Fingal has commented on the potential impact of the proposed TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on rural Ireland.
Ms. O’Reilly was speaking after attending a TTIP focused delegation in Brussels, hosted by Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy.
Ms O’Reilly noted that the proposed trade deal presents a real threat to Ireland’s farming industry, particularly the beef industry.
Ms. O’Reilly said:
“Firstly, I would like to commend my colleague Matt Carthy for the excellent work he has done in highlighting the various aspects of the proposed TTIP and the potential consequences for Ireland.
“The Copenhagan Economics Report published a few weeks ago by the Government 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.
“The beef sector is one of Ireland’s most important indigenous industries comprising over 77,000 farms across the state.
Fingal is the main agricultural area of the Dublin Region and is home to approximately 70 cattle herds. This is an issue that therefore will inevitably affect cattle producers in the area, especially when you consider that Ireland is currently the largest exporter of beef in the EU.
Over 90% of all beef produced in Ireland is exported, leaving farmers in the Fingal region exposed to any fluctuations in the export market.
“The Irish Government has acknowledged that TTIP presents a real threat to our beef industry – the question now remains as to what exactly it intends to do about it.
“The reality is that the Government has been asleep at the wheel while these negotiations have been ongoing and are only now beginning to assess the impact of this deal for Ireland.
“The fact of the matter is that a bad TTIP deal could devastate rural Dublin and this Government has done precious little to alleviate the growing concerns of farmers.
“I am calling on the Government to make a clear commitment that it will not sign up to any trade deal which is not in our best interests.”