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Ferris Calls on Minister to Clarify Position Regarding WTO Veto

20 May, 2008

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has called on Minister Brendan Smith to clarify what he believes the position to be regarding Ireland's veto on any WTO deal that threatens the interests of Irish farmers. The Kerry North TD was responding to a Dáil reply by the Minister in which he said that it was "premature" to speak of vetoing any deal but appearing to hint that Ireland would have such an option.

Deputy Ferris said: "The Minister needs to clarify what the position in regard to a veto will be if the Lisbon Treaty is passed. Like other supporters of the Yes campaign he has refused to address the specific issue of the removal, under Article 188, of individual Government vetoes on trade deals.

"He referred to Ireland having the option of a veto but did not make clear whether he was referring to the current situation in which that is the case, or the situation following Lisbon in which that veto will not be there and in which a WTO deal, inimical to Ireland's interests, particularly in the area of agriculture, could be passed by a Qualified Majority Vote on the Commission.

"Once again the Government and supporters of the Treaty have evaded the issue of the removal of the veto. Time and time again when challenged they have been unable to show where in the text of the Treaty there is anything to substantiate their claim that the veto will continue to pertain. They cannot because the Treaty in fact makes it clear that it will be removed." ENDS

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