Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, says that farmers will not have the wool pulled over their eyes by the latest Fine Gael stoke on Mercosur.

Deputy McConalogue explained, “Minister Creed has confirmed to me in a PQ reply that the government commissioned economic impact assessment on the Mercosur trade deal “will be completed by Summer 2020”.

“Fine Gael is playing politics with this sensitive political issue by kicking it to touch till after the next General Election. Fine Gael have decided to place spin over substance and avoid any negative coverage by a potentially damaging report on the Mercosur deal being completed before the election.

“The government have let down beef farmers horrendously in the run up to the Mercosur political agreement and failed to put up any fight with like-minded countries in acquiescing to the EU’s increased offer of 99,000 tonnes of beef access for South American countries.

“This deal will likely reduce beef prices further, farm incomes and damage the environment. It undermines EU climate change policy with large volumes of South American beef entering the EU market from less carbon efficient production models

“Government must oppose any ratification of the Mercosur deal due to the fact the full impact of Brexit is still unknown, given half our beef exports transit to the UK with no instant alternative markets available.

“The Fine Gael led government must stop playing politics with the impact assessment. For full farmer transparency, they must bring forward the publication date before the Summer so there is full disclosure before the next election,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.