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Taoiseach Varadkar disregards democratic process on CETA for photo-op - Matt Carthy MEP

22 August, 2017 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has slammed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for favouring a photo-op over the democratic process when it comes to debating the CETA trade deal with Canada which will have a profound and negative impact on Ireland's global trade position.

Speaking on the Taoiseach's visit to Canada, Carthy said:

“It seems to have escaped the Taoiseach in his latest meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the Dáil has yet to actually debate or vote on the EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement, CETA. 

“We witnessed a complete disregard for the democratic process by the Taoiseach in favour of another photo opportunity before a date has even been set for a Dáil vote.

"This is an illuminating and disturbing glimpse of what we can expect from Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach.

“The Court of Justice of the European Union has been absolutely clear in its pronouncements on CETA - that the deal must be ratified by all national parliaments before it can come into force. 

“Earlier this summer, and following the continued refusals of Tánaiste Fitzgerald to meet with me, I met with senior officials in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on this pressing issue. 

"I was informed that while there are plans to conduct an economic study on the impact of Free Trade Agreements on Ireland to date, a research body has yet to be appointed and the terms of reference for this study remain to be defined. 

“We can hardly accept this as bad planning on the part of the Department. CETA was voted in the European Parliament in January, and has been coming down the line for four years.

"This is a clear and deliberate attempt to force acceptance of the deal by putting the Dáil in the impossible situation of being among the last Parliaments to debate or vote. 

“Is this how the Taoiseach imagines Ireland being ‘an island at the centre of the world’? One that just wilfully follows the European Union without any debate about what is best for our own country?

"Is this how he plans on dealing with agricultural concerns over Mercosur?

“Latvia, Denmark, Spain and Croatia have already voted on CETA. While Greece, France and others have established expert Committees to look at the deal months ago.

"The Taoiseach's actions are snub not just to the thousands of people who have campaigned against this trade deal in Ireland but to the democratic process itself."

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