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Is the Irish Government comfortable with multi-nationals suing the State? Lynn Boylan MEP

27 January, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has again called on the Irish government to address the rising discontent surrounding the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause in the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This clause would enable a multi-national company to take legal action against an individual member state if legislation has a negative impact on its economic activity. 

Speaking this morning Ms. Boylan said:

“There have been media reports that France and Germany are now calling for a review of the EU – Canada trade deal, which was pretty much wrapped up, in order to remove any potential difficulties relating to its ISDS clause.

The bigger picture is that this is about the public interest.  Should individual investors challenge states in international tribunals for adopting and implementing legislation and regulations in the public interest? For example, some investors based in the EU are taking the authorities of developing countries to court. The French multinational Veolia took the Egyptian Government to court for increasing the minimum wage.

If this mechanism in included in the latest transatlantic trade deal, will US Multinationals be able to sue the Irish state for acting on zero hour contracts?

The fact is that Minister Bruton and the Irish government essentially support this investor protection mechanism. A letter to Commissioner Juncker from October 2015, signed by the Minister stated, “We carefully consider the views expressed by our stakeholders before reaching firm decisions on the way forward.”

The stakeholders have spoken. Ninety seven per cent of respondents who participated in the Commission’s most popular public consultation to date do not want the ISDS mechanism included in the EU-US trade deal.

Where does our government stand on the issue now? Will it listen to citizens on this issue? It would appear that from its silence, once again the Irish Government is afraid to raise its head above the parapet when it comes to dealing with Europe. I call on Minister Brutonto clarify whether his government is still a supporter of this clause.”

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