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Mitchell O'Connor risks violating Constitution over Canadian Trade deal - Carthy

29 September, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has reiterated his call to Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor to refer the Investment Chapter of of the EU-Canada trade deal, CETA, to the Irish people for a Referendum as a matter of urgency. 

Speaking from Brussels Carthy said:

“Independent legal advice I sought last April confirmed beyond any doubt that the content of the Investment Protection Chapter in the EU-Canada Free Trade Deal, CETA, would require a Referendum before it could be signed into Irish law by any Minister of State. 

“This trade deal, which started out as a low-profile agreement with a mostly disinterested support from the public, has evolved from its publication last winter and successive “legal revisions” since then, to present a very real threat to both Irish democracy and vulnerable sectors within our economy. 

“Public opinion has shifted, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in cities around Europe, and academic studies proving that this trade deal has the opportunity to drive inequality, move away from progressive labour and environmental standards and deregulate sensitive sectors for the benefit of specific corporate interests.

“Not only this, but the ratification of CETA in its current form, specifically the inclusion of Chapter 8 on Investment Protection, will directly breach Bunracht na hÉireann. The creation of a Permanent Investment Court, removed from any national accountability, for the benefit of international investors and multinational corporations, will infringe on our Constitution and it will be to the detriment of our citizens. 

“For these reasons it is vital for the Minister to publicly engage on these issues and explain how it could be possible for her to still be writing letters to Commissioner Mälstrom urging her to provisionally apply this agreement even before the Dáil has voted on the matter.  How it is that she attends informal and secret meetings with other Trade Ministers without any recourse to the Irish people?  And how it is that when a matter as urgent as an infringement of the Constitution of Ireland is at stake, she still refuses to engage on the legal issues?

“I have written to the Minister countless times, asking to present these legal findings in person but the Government refuses to take this matter seriously.  It is time for this matter to be referred to the Irish people, or the Minister risks violating the Irish Constitution on October 18th”.

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