Fianna Fáil’s Business Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher has said that the agreement between the EU and Mexico on a new trade deal is further proof that the tired, anti-trade and anti-EU rhetoric of the hard left needs is as redundant as ever.

“Those on the hard left care more about adhering to their out-dated and illiberal ideologies than they do about jobs in Ireland.

“Yesterday’s agreement between the EU and Mexico follows on from the deals agreed with Canada and Japan, and demonstrates that Ireland’s initial decision to join the EU and to maintain its closeness to the EU despite the constant hostility to the project from the hard left and Sinn Féin was in Ireland’s economic interest.

“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 and livelihoods at risk.

“With Brexit less than 12 months away, it’s more crucial than ever for Ireland Inc. to find and secure new places to sell our products and services.

“Yes, of course, we need measures to protect Irish quality standards, but being part of the EU allows us to push our quality-agenda among other members.

“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 up 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 and grow their economies,” concluded Kelleher.