A good deal for Europe, but is it good for Ireland? – McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has questioned whether or not the “historic” deal agreed during the EU Summit in Brussels this week is a good deal for Ireland.

Deputy McGrath raised his concerns that “Ireland is set to become the fifth-highest net contributor to the fund behind Germany, France, Holland and Sweden”.

While this may be a good deal for Europe in terms of showing solidarity and for the European economy, questions must be asked about the increasing burden and levels of debt being placed on Ireland.

“[It’s] a huge burden on Ireland as we face into a very uncertain time and there are concerns about how beneficial the grants will be to Ireland,” he said.

Deputy McGrath also raised concerns about the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget, which is also substantially less than what was originally proposed.

“The CAP budget and the Rural Development Fund have seen substantial cuts. This is very worrying for agriculture and rural Ireland; it appears they may have been the easy target.

The Brexit Reserve Fund of €5 billion is certainly welcome as Ireland is set to benefit from this, given the risks posed to our economy as a result of Brexit. However, we need further clarity on what this deal means for Ireland and how much we will benefit.

“It is worrying that more attention has been paid to getting a deal for Europe rather than ensuring that we get a good deal for Ireland.

“While a strong European economy will be beneficial to Ireland, we must ensure that the burden placed on us is not too great and that we will not be left behind… We need urgent clarity on this,” McGrath concluded.