Liadh Ní Riada MEP deeply concerned about impact of TTIP on cultural and creative sector
Liadh Ní Riada MEP for Ireland South has strongly criticised the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. She reaffirmed Sinn Féin´s strong opposition to the agreement in advance of tomorrow´s vote in the European Parliament.
Speaking from Strasbourg Ní Riada said:
“Sinn Féin will not support this trade agreement and we will be challenging any efforts to try and reduce EU standards particularly around food, the environment, workers and consumers rights.
“Furthermore, Sinn Féin will not be voting in favour of any agreement that includes an appalling and terrifying mechanism such as the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. In essence, this would allow corporations to sue governments for loss of revenue when government regulations are seen to affect expected profits. Through ISDS, companies can bypass the national court systems and go directly to international, investor-biased, tribunals.
“I believe it is the right of governments to enact policy that they believe will benefit or protect their citizens. The ISDS mechanism and the possibility that it could be used by large corporations not only challenges that right but could act as a deterrent to for governments wishing to introduce legislation. Citizens' health and well-being should never be secondary to private profit.
“From my own work on the Culture and Education committee, we have particular concerns about the impact ISDS would have on cases covering the cultural and educational sectors. The cultural and creative industries represent one of the most dynamic sectors. The sector is an important provider of jobs. Around 5 million people work in the creative industries.
“It is not a secret that the US has a strong interest in gaining access to the market for services related to films, TV and audio-visual services. The EU however believes such services play a special part in culture and so should be treated differently to other services. TTIP is no exception and this is to be welcomed. However, my other GUE/NGL colleagues and I believe that this "cultural exception" should be extended to other sectors that relate to culture. We put forward amendments to reflect our particular concerns and to ensure that the cultural sector is protected as much as possible.
“It is important to note too that Fine Gael MEPs are in support of this agreement. Indeed, Seán Kelly who is the only Irish MEP on the European Parliament´s International Trade Committee voted in favour of this agreement at committee stage. This is really disappointing. It is high time that they started putting the interests of the Irish people before that of big business.
“I can´t help but notice how quiet Labour have been on this matter, particularly given the drastic consequences this will have on Ireland. I do know that the group to which they are affiliated to here in the Parliament (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) are opposed to ISDS. I would therefore invite those in Labour to come out and let the Irish people know exactly where they stand on this important issue.”