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Social Democrats need to get off the fence on TTIP - Carthy

30 November, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has described as 'disappointing' remarks made by Social Democrat TD for Wicklow, Stephen Donnelly, regarding the ongoing EU-US trade deal (TTIP).

Carthy said

“On the Marian Finucane radio show Social Democrat TD Stephen Donnelly made reference to the role of the IFA in demanding better terms for farmers in the ongoing TTIP negotiations.  During his contribution he rightly outlined that farmers face a range of threats from the potential deal.

“While his short contribution on the matter gave the impression that he is familiar with the threats posed by TTIP deputy Donnelly preceded to toe the all too familiar line of “trade is good” and “barriers to trade hurt us”.  He stated that people are right to be nervous about “pieces” of the trade deal.  This is a classic example of "Sitting on the fence" on an issue that could have disastrous ramifications for the Irish economy including agriculture as well as the environment, public health and workers' rights. 

“Most of the information we have about TTIP comes from leaked documents with the remainder emanating from various PR exercises of the Commission and the Irish government.  The more that is revealed about this deal the greater the opposition is becoming in Ireland and across the EU. How Stephen Donnelly can maintain such a middle of the road approach to this deal is perplexing.

Carthy further commented:

“TTIP is not a trade deal as we would have traditionally known it.  For Deputy Donnelly to say “as a small open economy we need to be good traders” in the context of this mammoth deal frankly undermines the established work of Irish exporters.  Irish exports to the USA in 2014 totalled almost €20 billion accounting for 22% of our total exports.

“According to the American Chamber of commerce, total U.S. investment to Europe in the first nine months of 2014 fell 19% from the same period the previous year while U.S. flows to Ireland surged nearly 42%.  Ireland accounted for 36.4% of total US FDI to the European Union in 2013, a record high.   What Stephen Donnelly fails to understand is that if TTIP is fully realised it poses a real risk of FDI flight from Ireland to countries in Eastern Europe (which have lower cost base due primarily to poor wages). The Irish government commissioned Copenhagen Report which cost €250000 references FDI flight from a number of sectors in the Irish economy but this threat has been ignored by the government.

“I am calling on Deputy Donnelly and the Social Democrats to make a statement on this matter and outline what exactly their position is.  I would encourage the Social Democrats to join with the progressive forces who oppose TTIP and call for the end of negotiations under the current mandate.”

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