An impact assessment of the EU-Mercosur trade deal that was due to completely in spring has been delayed.
In the wake of the trade deal, agreed in 2019, an economic and sustainability impact assessment was commissioned by the Government to examine the effects of a deal on Ireland.
Chief among farmers' concerns was a 99,000t tariff-free quota for South American beef.
The impact assessment is under the remit of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment which is headed up by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald asked when the assessment would be published.
The Tánaiste said the assessment required analysis of the potential economic benefits as well as the social, human rights and environmental impacts in both Ireland and the Mercosur countries.
“As such, it is a considerable undertaking, which, unfortunately, has necessitated us running beyond the Q1 2021 deadline by which we had hoped to have the finalised report considered by Government and published," he said.
“The detailed research and stakeholder consultations are concluded and the drafting of the report itself is well advanced such that the report is expected to be received by my Department in the coming weeks.
“It will be published as soon as possible after consideration by Government."