Taoiseach’s recognition of Mercosur threat to Amazon both late and lacking – Dooley

Published on: 23 August 2019

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Timmy Dooley TD, has welcomed the Taoiseach’s sudden change of position regarding the Mercosur trade deal and long overdue focus on the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

Deputy Dooley called on the Taoiseach to take the lead at EU and UN level to ensure an end to the deforestation in Brazil.

Deputy Dooley said, “After two months of silence, the Taoiseach appears to have finally grasped the extreme risks and climate impacts of the Mercosur deal.

“Fianna Fáil has previously called for this Government to entirely re-think its approach to the Mercosur deal if it is serious about sustainability objectives in agriculture and protection of the Amazon. This is particularly important to Ireland’s Security Council campaign where the Government has put such emphasis on climate action.

“Yet what we have seen is an alarming absence of leadership. It seems the Taoiseach only responded adequately when the United Nations, President Macron and others had taken a strong line with the Brazilian government, given the escalating destruction of the rainforest.

“In July Fianna Fáil raised the disastrous impacts of increasing and deliberate deforestation in the Amazon in the context of the Mercosur deal, as well as the failures of the Brazilian government to protect the rainforest and respect the rights of indigenous peoples and civil society organisations.

“However, the Government largely dismissed these concerns with Minister Bruton, Minister Humphreys and Commissioner Hogan all responding that Brazil’s commitments to implement the Paris Climate Agreement as part of the Mercosur deal were sufficient.

“These statements now ring hollow. It is abundantly clear that even if Brazil has not officially left the Paris Agreement, it is not respecting its commitments. Fianna Fáil has called for a new impact assessment of the Mercosur deal on Ireland and analysis of the Mercosur deal’s potential environmental impacts.

“This should be backed by guarantees that no Brazilian products sold in the EU will lead to increases in deforestation and confirmation that the Brazilian government is respecting its obligations under the Paris Agreement.

“In the immediate term, we need the Taoiseach to do more than a mere commitment to ‘monitor closely’ Brazil’s environmental actions. The Government must raise the worsening situation in the Amazon with Brazilian representatives and call for action at both the EU Council and the UN General Assembly to ensure the wildfires and deforestation are brought to an end”, concluded Deputy Dooley.

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