Matt Carthy MEP.
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on all Irish MEPs to oppose the hugely controversial CETA trade deal when it comes before the European Parliament next week.
In particular, Carthy criticised Fine Gael MEPs for indicating they will support the deal, despite its damaging implications for Irish jobs businesses and agriculture.
Matt Carthy said:
"Irish people have been kept entirely in the dark about the hugely controversial EU-Canada Economic and Comprehensive Trade Agreement (CETA), which was negotiated behind closed doors with every effort being made to restrict any democratic oversight.
"With the deal now done, CETA champions want it ratified quickly and quietly. Next Wednesday, February 15, the European Parliament will have a final vote on this dangerous deal, providing all Irish MEPs with a chance to stand up and be counted.
"CETA will have huge implications for Irish sovereignty, our legislative and judicial systems and our economic future.
"CETA will further distort trade and wealth in favour of larger multinational corporations at the expense of indigenous business. EU Commission studies project a mere 0.08% rise in GDP after 7 years, as a result of CETA. Weather conditions would have a bigger impact on GDP without affecting government's right to legislate.
“A survey published last week show that SMEs from across Europe expect to be disadvantaged by CETA.
"Coupled with other EU trade deals coming down the line CETA will be devastating for Irish agriculture, farming families and rural communities.
"An EU Commission study has predicted a “steep drop in beef meat prices by between 8-16%" as a result of CETA and similar trade deals.
"MEPs can support Irish farmers or they can support CETA. They cannot do both.
"CETA's inclusion of provision for an Investment Court gives large multinational corporations the right to sue governments for enacting laws that impact on profits, even if those laws are clearly in the public interest. This right will be denied to citizens, local businesses and governments themselves.
"Anti-tobacco legislation, moratoriums on fracking, water-use plans, decisions to make cancer drugs more affordable, designations of places of natural reserve have all been challenged in courts like these.
"Legal advice that I have received suggests that the ratification of a trade deal that includes an Investment Court would breach the Irish constitution.
"It is entirely unacceptable that the EU Commission intends to ‘provisionally apply’ key aspects of the agreement immediately before national parliaments have any say on it.
"Trade Unions, environmental organisations, health advocacy groups, farming bodies, small & medium business organisations and hundreds of thousands of citizens across the EU and Canada are standing against CETA.
"While most Irish MEPs will vote against CETA, Fine Gael MEPs have already declared their support.
"Fine Gael is cheerleading this dangerous deal without explaining how and why it came to this position.
"It is not too late for Fine Gael MEPs to change their stance. All Irish MEPs must defend Irish jobs, businesses and farmers by voting against CETA next Wednesday."