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Taoiseach should stand-up for Irish farmers and block disastrous EU-Mercosur beef quota deal - Adams

4 October, 2017 - by Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to stand-up for Irish farmers by rejecting the EU Commission’s reported offer of a 70,000 tonne beef quota to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Teachta Adams made the call during Leaders Questions today and said that the deal has the potential to destroy one of the island’s biggest and most internationally reputable industries.

Teachta Adams said;

“All the main farming organisations, across this island, have quite rightly opposed this move.

“If the reports of a 70,000 tonne quota are true, then, Taoiseach, our beef sector, and the livelihoods of farmers, are being sacrificed for a deal with South America.

“This would create huge difficulties at any time but given the unfolding risk of Brexit, particularly for rural Ireland and our Agri-food industry, then these difficulties are magnified.

“How can this quantity of beef be accepted from states which do not observe the most basic standards?

“Farm income is reaching drastically low levels. But, instead of coming up with measures to tackle this problem and take farmers out of risk of poverty, the Commission is pushing ahead with its cheap food policy through Mercosur.

“The Mercosur states already supply up to 75% of third country beef imports to the EU market.

“Giving them greater access would be a huge mistake.

“I am calling on you to intervene to make it plain to the Commission that it should not proceed with this trade deal.”

Speaking following the exchange, Teachta Adams added;

“The Taoiseach says that he is against an offer of the scale reported. He should match his words with action. He should tell the EU commission that the Irish government will oppose this deal. Teachta Varadkar needs to stand up for Irish farmers and our Agri-food food industry.” 

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