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Sinn Féin urges Taoiseach: ‘Defend Ireland’s interests, reject Mercosur’

6 July, 2019 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

The Sinn Féin Dáil team has published the text of a motion on the Mercosur trade deal which will be debated next week.

Party President Mary Lou McDonald TD says that if passed, the motion “should be considered binding” and urged the Taoiseach to “defend Ireland’s interests by voting accordingly at the European Council and Council of Ministers”.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“The Mercosur trade deal is a sell-out of family farms and of the environment. Sinn Féin has opposed it for the last five years and we are taking further action by tabling this motion next week.

“Only weeks after declaring a climate emergency in the Dáil, the Government now advances a trade deal which will pave the way for Brazilian beef to come into the EU and for German car manufacturers to flog high emission cars in South America. This flies in the face of commitments to tackle climate change.

“For farming families, the deal in and of itself will create massive difficulties, but combined with the sustained decline in beef prices, Mercosur is devastating news for farmers and the rural economy.

“This is not good enough and it now falls to the Dáil to take action.

“This motion, if passed, should be considered binding on this and future governments. The Taoiseach must use all legal and political means available to frustrate and thwart the deal. He must also ensure that a suitably competent person is nominated to defend Ireland’s interests as the next EU commissioner.”

Full text of motion below

“That Dáil Éireann:


 — that the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement negotiated by the European Commission is a bad deal for Ireland and for the planet;

 — that the deal will see the importing of 99,000 tonnes of beef into the European Union (EU) per year, tariff free, which will devastate the Irish beef industry, while simultaneously doing severe climate damage;

 — that South American beef has lower safety and consumer standards than our own indigenous beef and uses pesticides and chemicals which are not allowed within the EU, and that there are concerns about the traceability of this meat given the stringent farm to fork chain in Ireland;

 — that the wider economic impact of damaging the farming industry will further accelerate the decline of rural Ireland through the closure of small businesses and the loss of local jobs;

— that it undermines our 2030 emission targets and the Government’s recently published Climate Action Plan by importing beef which takes four times the carbon footprint of Irish beef to produce, with additional emissions being created through transportation of the beef from South America to Europe; and

 — the further undermining of climate action by accelerating the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest which is currently at its highest rate in a decade, where last year alone there was a 13 per cent increase in Amazon deforestation and just last month 739 square kilometers were destroyed, the equivalent to two football pitches every minute;

further notes that:

— the far-right President of Brazil has shown a complete disdain for human rights, environmental protection and the rule of law since his election;

 — the Brazilian Government has failed to adequately demarcate land to indigenous communities and this has led to huge land grabs by agri-business, which is leading to a destruction of these indigenous communities, the environment, and the assassination of community leaders who resist, which will increase massively if the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement is ratified; and

— Brazil has seen a huge increase in attacks on and the murder of indigenous community leaders and on environmental defenders in recent years and it is one of the world’s deadliest places for environmental activists;

rejects the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement recently made between the European Commission and the Mercosur group of countries;

mandates the Government to:

— vote accordingly at the European Council and the Council of Ministers and consider this motion as binding on this and future Governments; and

— immediately begin building a coalition across the EU to ensure that this deal is rejected; and

calls on the Government to:

— ensure that Ireland’s interests are put to the fore in all engagements on this matter, including using all legal and political means available to frustrate and thwart the deal; and

— nominate a suitably competent person to defend Ireland’s interests as the next EU Commissioner.”

Brian Stanley, Gerry Adams, John Brady, Pat Buckley, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Martin Ferris, Kathleen Funchion, Martin Kenny, Mary Lou McDonald, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Jonathan O'Brien, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Louise O'Reilly, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Maurice Quinlivan

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