Dáil debates

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement: Motion [Private Members]


4:35 pm

Photo of John BradyJohn Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

In 2017 the European Union declared that it was ready to continue giving global leadership in the fight against climate change. In December 2018 the European Commission published a road map in promising to tackle global deforestation and, in particular, reduce the European Union's role in it. The European Union clearly acknowledged that it was part of the problem, yet only months later it stands ready to trade with one of the greatest climate destructors in the world. Brazil's President has pledged to limit fines for destroying the rainforest and weaken the influence of its environmental agency. He also wants to open up indigenous peoples' lands to commercial farming. The Amazon which runs through one of the world's greatest rainforests and which is one of the world's greatest providers of oxygen lost 739 km2 in the 31 days of May which is equivalent to losing two football pitches every minute. Environmentalists have confirmed that there will be an acceleration in the coming months, which will make 2019 one of the worst years in living memory for deforestation. That is frightening.

The European Union has acknowledged its role in global deforestation resulting from the demand for commodities such as soy, beef, coffee and palm oil. Between 1990 and 2008, the EU 27 imported and consumed 10% of global production of crops and livestock products associated with deforestation in the countries of origin, which was equivalent to 9 million ha. This deal will intensify the damage being done and in signing up to it the European Union will play and even greater role in causing destruction, while simultaneously claiming to be a leader on climate change. It cannot have it both ways.

We do not need to import thousands of tonnes of beef from anywhere, especially if it means shipping it over 8,650 km from Brazil or over 11,000 km from Argentina. Why should we when Ireland is one of the greatest beef producers anywhere in the world? Mercosur is a bad deal for the environment, food quality and Irish farming. Fine Gael has a choice to make today. It will determine the position Ireland will take on the deal. It must be a resounding "No" to Mercosur.


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