Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway, Eugene Murphy, has said the Taoiseach and his Minister for Agriculture cannot ignore the protests which have taken place by members of the farming community outside Leinster House today.

Deputy Murphy was speaking having stood with farmers from Roscommon and Galway who were protesting outside the Dáil against the Mercosur trade deal.

He commented, “I have a number of concerns regarding this proposed trade deal. Before any ratification it is imperative the government request an impact assessment and an environmental analysis.

“How can the Government justify the carbon footprint which the importation of South American beef will cause? We hear of the destruction of thousands of hectares of forestry to sustain beef production in South America. If the Government is serious about climate action then how they justify this Mercosur Deal which to put simply, is bad for the environment and suckler farmers in Ireland.

“Can the Government stipulate that the Commission should restrict the importation of prime cuts of beef into the Irish market due to our unique vulnerability with the impending Brexit time-bomb? Surely if the larger EU economies wish to export cars and agricultural machinery then they should take the lion’s share of the beef from South America.

“And, lastly have the various Government agencies such as Bord Bia taken any new measures to market the prime Irish grass produced beef to counteract the importation of beef from South America under this Mercosur Deal.

“There are so many unknowns and farmers are fearful. We need the government standing up and advocating for our best interests if this deal is to progress fairly for those in the sector,” concluded Deputy Murphy.