Wednesday, 10 July 2019
EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement: Motion [Private Members]
With any trade deal there will obviously be give and take. However, this deal provides for loads of give on behalf of farmers, which is very unfair. It will result in the decimation of farming, especially beef, poultry, pigs and sugar beet farmers. It does not provide a level playing field and is environmentally hypocritical.
Many farmers in my constituency of Cork South-West have contacted me in recent weeks. They are genuinely concerned about the consequences of the deal. It is inevitable that the influx of beef into the European Union will impact greatly on our beef producers who export 90% of their produce to the United Kingdom. Producers who are already at rock bottom will feel it even more. It is no exaggeration to say the devastation for the farming community in Cork South-West will be unreal. By extension, their families will feel it and thus, in essence, the local economy. This is not to mention further economic losses that will be incurred as an indirect result of the deal or the impact it will have on the environment. It is somewhat remiss of the European Union to slap sanctions on Ireland over climate change, while at the same time agreeing to the transportation of tonnes of beef halfway across the world when there is a superior version of the same product on our doorstep. It also seems to be somewhat remiss to agree to a deal of this magnitude without knowing exactly what will happen with Brexit which presents the biggest challenge to the European Union. The interests of Irish farmers must be represented in Europe. I call on the Ministers present to be the voice of the farmers of Cork South-West and the country as a whole. They should support the motion in the interests of farmers and all stakeholders in Ireland. I plead with them to reject the deal.