Goverenment must seek allies against Mercosur deal - Gerry Adams TD
Louth TD Gerry Adams speaking in the Dáil today on the Sinn Féin Private Members Motion opposing the Mercosur agreement called on the government to “reject the Mercosur deal when it comes before the EU Trade Council”.
The Louth TD welcomed farmers from Louth who attended in the public gallery. He revealed that an area five times the size of Louth was stripped of trees in the last year. The impact of this on global warming is significant.
Gerry Adams said:
“There is agreement among all of the main farming organisations, and among opposition parties, and it would appear some in the Cabinet, that this is a bad deal for farmers, a bad deal for the island of Ireland, and a bad deal for meeting the challenge of climate change.
"There are around one hundred thousand producers – farming families and local communities involved in the beef and livestock sector. The beef meat processing sector employs thousands more.
"The reality is that farmers in my own constituency of Louth, and across this state, and also in the North, now face significant new threats to their livelihoods. While the focus of the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement has been on the beef industry we should not lose sight of the fact that it also allows for the significant import of poultry, and pigmeat.
"Nor should we forget that these new levels of imports are additional to the two hundred and sixty-nine thousand tons of beef and half a million tons of poultry that the Mercosur states of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay export to the EU.
"This deal will do serious damage to an already struggling agricultural sector and to our rural communities which are being stripped already of essential public services. The farming and agri-food sectors already face enormous difficulties and challenges as a result of Brexit.
"Moreover, at a time when the EU and its member states have prioritised climate change this deal will encourage states with a poor record of protecting their environments and supporting deforestation.
"Last week the Brazilian Space Agency released data documenting a massive spike in deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. There was a year-on-year 88% increase in deforestation. This means in practice that four thousand five hundred and sixty-five square kilometres of rainforest were destroyed. That is an area five times the size of County Louth – gone in less than a year.
"Climate change is not the only threat from the Mercosur deal. Farming organisations have already expressed their concern that these states do not have the same standards of traceability, animal welfare, or food safety.
"The government must vote against this deal when it comes before the EU Trade Council. But crucially, the government has no veto. That was given away by Fianna Fáil.
"To pass the deal it needs just 55% in a qualified majority vote, so the government must urgently seek allies to ensure that when it comes to the vote this trade treaty is voted down."