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EU agreement to Mercosur 70,000 tonnes of beef would be a slap in the face to Irish farmers - Martin Kenny TD

3 October, 2017 - by Martin Kenny TD

 Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Kenny TD has reacted angrily to reports that the EU Commission has offered a 70,000 tonne quota to the Mercosur trade block made up of South American States.

Speaking today, Deputy Kenny said:

“There is no other way to describe this move by the EU Commission than as a slap in the face for Irish farmers. What else can it be called at a time when Brexit is already threatening the Irish beef sector?

“I hope that Minister Creed and Commissioner Hogan are standing firm against this move. Ireland’s beef sector is vulnerable with Brexit looming and concerns about the 50% of our beef that goes to Britain.

“If these reports of a 70,000 tonne quota to Mercosur are true, then it must be said that our beef sector and beef farmers in all the EU are being sacrificed for a deal with Latin America.

“Irish farmers have stood up in the past against Brazilian beef imports and not just for hard economic reasons, but also for the safeguarding of standards, environmental concerns and the revelations that Brazil as one example has scant regard for any animal welfare, health and safety or environmental norms.

“Considering the pressure exerted on Irish and other EU farmers to maintain high standards, how can it be acceptable that this quantity of beef can be accepted from states who do not observe the most basic standards?

“Who is calling the shots and what is their motivation? Minister Creed and Commissioner Hogan will have to organise with other EU beef producers to stop this quota being allocated and to protect our beef sector.

“That is what a Minister for Agriculture is for. If Minister Creed does not know that and step up to the plate, then we have a serious problem.”

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