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Government begrudgingly gives 2.5 hours debate to biggest Trade deal in history – Tóibín

21 January, 2016

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Jobs and Trade Peadar Tóibín has criticized the Government for giving only 2.5 hours of debate to the largest trade deal in history and for pursing a deal that will have such negative consequences for Irish people.

The Meath West TD outlined the many flaws in the TTIP deal, stating:

“We are told that TTIP is about the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade; this is a euphemism for standards and their enforcement. TTIP is a significant threat to workers’ rights, environmental protections, quality of food and health and safety aspects to products. It is clear that TTIP seeks the convergence towards the lowest common denominator in standards in order to remove barriers to trade. The fact that TTIP will be a living agreement and its scope will evolve and its coverage will grow. It is noteworthy that even before the agreement is signed the EU Commission has rowed back in deference to US officials in the regulation of pesticides.   

“This Agreement is shrouded in secrecy and is being negotiated behind closed doors. The EU has met with over 600 lobbyists where 88% of them from the corporate sector.  The unfettered access given to corporate lobbies is in stark contrast to the secrecy around the contents of the deal which are being kept from the general public. Even the representatives of Irish citizens in the European Parliament are only allowed to view the document under the strictest private conditions and even then are forbidden from sharing with their constituents what is contained within.

“Oxfam have recently carried out research which shows that in our time income inequality has sky rocketed. 62 people have the equivalent of half the world’s population. The richest 1% now has more wealth that the rest of the world’s population combined.  This is a shocking situation and it is progressively getting worse. Mark my words this is not just the latest stage of the eternal left right debate this is the most radical overconcentration of wealth in hundreds of years. And it’s not just wealth. Money is power and increasingly national governments act in deference to the 1%. TTIP is a continuation of this imbalance.

“The most unpalatable aspect of this trade deal is the inclusion of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism. The danger of this cannot be overstated. It represents a horrendous secession of sovereignty and power, not to another state or political union but to multinational corporations. By endorsing this mechanism our government are saying that our own courts are not an adequate space in which disputes between citizens and corporations can be dealt with. Not only will this mechanism leave citizens liable to pay for lost revenue of private corporations but it will give those same corporations undue sway over any governments’ policy development.” 

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