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Government has head in the sand over TTIP – Tóibín

24 June, 2015

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín today accused Jobs Minister Richard Bruton of sticking his head in the sand on the potentially catastrophic impact of investor protections attached to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on sovereign states ability to progress public policy that falls foul of multinationals profit-making.

The Sinn Féin Jobs Spokesperson also welcomed the commencement of the cross committee hearings into TTIP which will take place over the coming months concluding with an Oireachtas Political Contribution to be submitted to the EU Commission, an initiative that was instigated by the Meath West TD.

Deputy Tóibín said:

A briefing by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on TTIP tells us that the trade negotiations give the EU an opportunity to make improvements and create a new generation ISDS model that addresses the weaknesses identified in other Agreements. 

“It’s worth remembering that in October of last year the Jobs Minister, along with some of his EU counterparts, wrote to the Trade Commissioner to remind her of the Councils mandate for the inclusion of ISDS in the TTIP negotiations, and there was no mention of inter-state dispute settlements weaknesses.  

“We are now told the Commission has identified the a number of  issues to be addressed in the new ISDS model including member state governments right to regulate; establishment and functioning of arbitral tribunals and the review of ISDS decisions through an appeals process. 

“It is a preposterous notion for the Jobs Minister and indeed the EU Trade Commissioner to suggest that EU member states do not already provide adequate legislative protections for investors, and this convoluted effort by the Commission and the member state governments to get around their own legal systems to the benefit of global corporations is truly shocking.

“In Ireland, we’ve already experienced the heavy hand of a tobacco company’s efforts to halt public health policy, and the natural outcome of a tobacco company successfully suing a sovereign country using an ISDS a chill factor where other countries minded to pursue progressive social or public policy will be deterred from doing so.” 

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