Dáil debates

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement: Motion [Private Members]


3:55 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

By agreeing in principle to the Mercosur deal, the Government and the EU have stabbed the farmers of this country in the back. They have betrayed the fight to deal with the climate emergency. They are sabotaging efforts to deal with the horrendous destruction of the Amazon rainforests and betraying any commitment to human rights or indeed even to the aspirations and livelihoods of small farmers in Latin America.

I do not say that as a bandwagon jumper. I was in Genoa in 2002 at the G8 summit where we were tear-gassed and batoned off the streets, standing alongside indigenous people from Brazil, farmers from France and Italy when this deal was first being hatched, protesting against the plans to bring in these deals, which would destroy the small farmers and producers of Europe, destroy the environment and drive a coach and horses through any commitment to human rights. That is our record and it was that which led us to oppose the Lisbon treaty because as we warned at the time, the Lisbon treaty signed away our veto to oppose this kind of trade deal.

5 o’clock

That does not mean opposing trade. Rather, it means trade should be fair and sustainable, not done in the interest of a tiny group of corporations but that is what is going on. Small farmers, the environment and human rights are being sacrificed for German car manufacturers, large pharmaceutical industries, a small number of large manufacturing industries and the financial services industry. Rural Ireland and small farmers are being destroyed in that agenda. The commitment that there will be safeguards for the Paris Agreement are nonsense because we have lost our veto. The Germans will say they want their cars to be exported to Brazil and none of the clauses will be invoked. We know this happens with human rights clauses in deals because the Government never calls out the Israelis. Despite the commitments to human rights in the trade association agreements, the Government never does anything about it because big business comes before any of those commitments.

All that can be done now is for farmers to keep on the streets and link up with other farmers and environmentalists, throughout Europe and Latin America, who fight and resist the deal in order that it can be brought down. Otherwise, the environment and rural Ireland will suffer terrible consequences.


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