Farmers led by IFA President Joe Healy are protesting against the proposed Mercosur trade deal outside the European Commission office in Dublin today.

"We’re highlighting the fact of what the EU Commission are prepared to do and that’s to sell out on Irish and European beef producers in this EU-Mercosur deal," Healy said.

"It’s wrong and it’s reckless and we’re calling on Commissioner Hogan and our Taoiseach to ensure that the deal doesn’t go through and to do whatever they have to do to ensure that it doesn’t go through because it fails to tick so many boxes whether you talk about animal welfare, animal traceability, deforestation or climate change.

"The very least we deserve is a level playing pitch with who we have to compete against for shelf space."

Deal imminent

It is expected that up to 99,000t of South American beef would be granted access in the proposed deal with the Latin trade bloc.

Signals for Brussels indicate that a deal could be concluded by the end of this week.

IFA national livestock chair Angus Woods condemned the proposed deal.

"This is really significant for beef farmers in Ireland and across continental Europe," Woods said.

"One of the key cornerstones for European membership was preferential access to the European market and what we’re seeing with this deal is the giveaway of the European beef market to the South Americans.

"They’re bringing in cheap, sub-standard beef to the European market, dragging down the price and impacting directly on European farmers.

"Irish beef farmers already have their profits on the floor, they cannot take that hit."


The IFA poultry chair Andy Boylan said that a Mercosur deal would "devastate" the Irish poultry industry.

He pointed out that medical and animal welfare standards in Ireland and other EU countries was significantly higher than within the Mercosur trading Bloc.

After coming out to meet protesting farmers, European Commission representative to Ireland Gerry Kiely told the Irish Farmers Journal: "We're well aware of the concerns of Irish and European farmers about the negotiations that are taking place. It has been recognised for a long time by the European Commission that beef would have to be treated as a sensitive sector and that will continue."

Additional reporting by Hannah Quinn-Mulligan.

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