Timing of Mercosur deal could not be worse for Irish farmers – McConalogue
28 June 2019
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has warned the Agriculture Minister to ensure that Irish farmers interests are represented in Europe and called on him to oppose any ratification of the Mercosur deal due to the fact the full impact of Brexit has not yet emerged.
He was responding to the announcement that negotiators from the European Union and the South American Mercosur trading block have agreed a trade deal.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “This deal has taken almost 20 years to negotiate and Irish farmers have opposed the proposals in it every step of the way. The deal has always had the potential to damage Irish farming but combined with the possible loss of trade in the British market as a result of Brexit, Mercosur could prove catastrophic.
“This deal will see 99,000 tonnes of South American beef allowed into the European market every year. This will have a huge impact on prices, at a time when beef farmers here are already to the pin of their collars.
“This deal will also have a detrimental impact on the environment. It seems ironic that on the one hand the government and the EU talks about reducing our carbon footprint to mitigate climate change, while on the other they have no issue with flying South American beef thousands of kilometres into Europe.
“Minister Creed knows that this is a bad deal for Ireland. He must engage with his European counterparts to ensure that there is no decision to ratify this deal given that we do not know what the full impact of Brexit will be. We export around 270,000 tonnes of beef to the UK every year, will our farmers now have to compete with cheap South American imports in a post-Brexit scenario?
“This is an exceptionally volatile period and I believe the EU should not take any decisions on this deal until the full post-Brexit scenario is known”, concluded Deputy McConalogue.