‘not in the interest of Irish farmers’

Labour Party Agriculture spokesperson, Willie Penrose TD, has called for the Mercosur deal to be rejected by Ireland.

"This is a bad deal for Irish farmers. It will be bad for the economy and bad for the environment. Minister Creed and the Taoiseach should not support its ratification,” Deputy Penrose said this week.

"Currently, nine out of every ten of cattle that are produced on Irish farms have to be exported. Farmers are already feeling the pinch as beef prices are significantly under the cost of production, and the looming threat of Brexit continues to pose a threat to farmers’ livelihoods.

"The European beef market, on which we are dependent, is already oversupplied. To introduce another 90,000 tonnes of fresh and frozen meat into an oversaturated market makes no sense. Our economy and farmers’ livelihoods cannot be put at risk like this.

"From an environmental perspective, this deal should not be allowed to proceed. Just last week our government launched their 'Climate Action Plan', which called for even further reduction of carbon emissions from Irish agriculture.

"Irish farmers are working hard to meet higher environmental, and health standards imposed on the sector. Yet the nations we are now talking about importing beef from are coming nowhere near as close to our standards. Deforestation of rain forest areas for agricultural use has been common practice in some of the nations involved in this deal - not to mention the huge carbon emissions output which will result from the transportation of this meat.

“It is a slap in the face for Irish farmers who have worked hard to be active participants in addressing climate change.”

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