CETA’s potential to damage Ireland's cultural industry must be examined – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has welcomed the news that the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht has agreed to a Sinn Féin proposal to commission data on the impact that CETA will have on Irish tourism, media, sport, and the cultural industries.
The proposal was made by Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster TD, Johnny Mythen TD and Senator Fintan Warfield.
This development comes as the Committee on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Irish-Speaking Community is also set to discuss a proposal from Teachta Ó Snodaigh, who chairs that Committee, that advice should be sought on the potential impact of CETA on Gaeltacht communities and on any future efforts to strengthen language rights. This is something that was not analysed when the treaty was debated at European level as language policy remains the competence of member states.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh:
“Sinn Féin are very clear that CETA is a bad deal. It is bad for workers’ rights, bad for the environment and bad for the public purse.
“CETA would introduce investor courts into the Irish system, which would be very dangerous and put the interests of corporate companies above the rights of the Irish people. It must be stopped and Sinn Féin is committed to ensuring it does not pass.
“I am also deeply concerned about CETA’s risk to Ireland’s arts and culture sectors.
“I commend the work of my colleagues Imelda Munster TD, Johnny Mythen TD and Senator Fintan Warfield on demanding thorough scrutiny of CETA’s impact on the culture sector. This team effort demonstrates Sinn Féin’s commitment to protecting our arts sector, and our understanding that CETA poses a danger to all sectors.
“It is a grave oversight that to date there has been almost no analysis of how CETA could impact on our cultural policy, despite it containing specific provisions on culture.
“Of particular concern is Article 7.7, which ensures CETA will not affect support or government subsidies to any of Canada’s cultural industries – including the production, distribution and sale of literature, print media, film, music, radio and television broadcasting – while only ‘audio-visual services’ in the European Union receive the same protection.
“That would give workers, businesses and creative talent in Ireland and the EU less protection than their counterparts in Canada and might affect the Irish government’s ability in future to subsidise or provide supports to our print media or music industries, for example.
“We also need to know what impact the investor courts might have on our cultural industries – if the living wage or basic income currently being discussed for artists were to infringe on the competitivity or expected profits of Canadian artists and record labels, could they sue Ireland for millions as a result?
“Questions are also posed by CETA on intellectual property, such as- Could US-based artists register with Canadian record labels to demand royalties if Irish cafés or restaurants play their music, even though Irish artists would have no similar recourse in the US?
“At a time when artists and entertainment workers are struggling to survive after almost a year without work, it would be a total betrayal to sign up to CETA when it runs the risk of putting our artists and cultural workers at a disadvantage.
“Sinn Féin will stand up for workers’ rights and small businesses across the arts and culture sector. I look forward to this scrutiny happening and will continue to hold the Government to account on this vital issue.”