The Government must immediately end any prospect of the Mercosur trade deal, Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Matt Carthy TD has claimed.

He said it is unacceptable that the EU-Mercosur trade deal, which would allow for the importation of 100,000 additional tonnes of beef into the EU market, remains an open prospect.

Carthy pointed out Ireland’s “sustained discussion on the role of agriculture in our domestic carbon emissions” and described it as “beyond ironic” that the “Brazilian meat industry was unveiling plans to increase the cattle herd there by 6.5m in order to meet projected export demand”.

“This [Brazilian] increase represents the equivalent of this State’s entire beef and dairy herd,” he said.

Deal advancing

The Cavan-Monaghan TD pointed out that European Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius has indicated that he expects the EU-Mercosur trade deal to advance by the end of this year, thereby facilitating the importation of a significant amount of that additional Brazilian beef into Europe.

Sinn Féin's agricultural spokesman Matt Carthy called on the Government to veto the Mercosur trade deal. \ Philip Doyle

“Irish farmers can and must take measures to reduce emissions. But we cannot expect those actions to be taken while the European Commission is preparing to sign off on a trade deal that will undo any positive impact of our domestic actions.

“Due to pressure from farm organisations and Sinn Féin, Government ministers have told the Dáil that they are now opposed to the EU-Mercosur trade deal. But it appears that they have yet to tell the European Commission,” Carthy said.

Veto the deal

He called on the Government to use Ireland’s “veto on this trade deal” and “end any further progress on this disastrous agreement”.

“Otherwise, Government parties will lose all credibility on their recent climate action rhetoric.

“The Mercosur trade deal offers nothing positive for Ireland. It is bad for our most important indigenous sector, bad for our overall economy and disastrous for the environment. It must be rejected, now,” he said.

Mercosur grain

Meanwhile, Irish Grain Growers Group (IGGG) chair Bobby Miller warned that Ireland “cannot have a scenario where we are happy to take Mercosur grain but opposed to Mercosur beef”.

He called on Matt Carthy TD and Sinn Féin to “take a similar stand on importing grain and grain by products from these same Mercosur countries if they are concerned about the environmental impact that they claim about importing beef from these countries”.

“Opposing taking in beef and then [being] prepared to take in grain to feed our livestock just doesn't add up. Matt Carthy TD needs to give a position on grain from Mercosur countries now,” he said.

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