Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Niall Collins has slammed those on the hard left of Irish politics for continually seeking to pull Ireland out of the Free Trade agreements, such as the Comprehensive Europe Trade Agreement (CETA), which the Irish economy relies on, jeopardising Irish jobs.

Deputy Collins was speaking in advance of his party’s private members business motion on the role and impact of free trade in the Irish economy.

He commented, “The hard left wing of Irish politics have from day one sought to downplay the importance of free trade to Ireland’s continued economic prosperity.

“Ireland is an open, global economy that relies on trade between countries to fund its public services, such as health, education, and social protection, and those committed to removing Ireland, and indeed the rest of the European Union, from such agreements are putting jobs at risk.

“The beneficial impact of free trade agreements is clear for all whose eyes are open.  According to an independent study by Copenhagen Economics, TTIP would add 1.1% to gross domestic product in Ireland, increase Irish exports to the world by around 4% and create up to 10,000 jobs.

“Yes we need measures to protect Irish quality standards, and that can, and will be done.

“The hard left continually see problems in every opportunity. Free trade is crucial to Ireland’s continued economic prosperity. Those talking down the opportunities and hyping potential issues do a disservice to the people who they claim to represent.

“If we follow the hard left’s advice, Ireland will become an insular economy, reliant on selling services and goods to each other. In the longer term, that will not and cannot work, and would imperil jobs and living standards in this country.

“Businesses in Ireland, be they indigenous or foreign owned, must be supported to reach new markets for their products and services. Free trade agreements are the mechanism by which countries work with each other to support trade.

“Our motion which will be debated tonight is about setting out Ireland’s stall that we are open for business and that we support the principle of free trade as a route to prosperity.

“Those who care about delivering quality jobs for our citizens should support our motion. Hard left rhetoric should not be allowed to drown out the need for free trade, and the opportunities that come from it,” concluded Collins.