CETA deal is ‘a devastating blow to Irish agriculture’

The passing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada by the European Parliament this week is a devastating blow for Irish agriculture, Sinn Fein’s Martin Kenny has said.

Kenny, Sinn Fein’s Spokesperson on Agriculture, said that the Parliament’s vote for the deal is also a devastating blow also for farming families and rural Ireland.

“Irish beef farmers are facing a very bleak future because Fine Gael MEPs failed to stand up for them by voting in favour of this disastrous deal.

“Canada has been approved to supply the EU with 50,000t of beef which equates to hundreds of thousands head of cattle. Irish beef prices are only going to go one way and that is down.

“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.”

Kenny said that it will be the farmer producing weanlings and store cattle who feel the price cuts first and the factories will use it as an excuse to drive the prices down.

Small farmers in the west of Ireland will not be able to compete with this and will no doubt go under as a result.

“All farm organisations need to come out in strong opposition to this deal and when this deal comes before the Dáil, my colleagues in Sinn Fein and I will strongly oppose it.

“While Fine Gael MEPs shamefully chose to support CETA over the interests of Irish farmers, I hope this Government has the guts to stand up and reject this deal and ensure the survival of the Irish agri-sector.”

Now that the European Parliament has agreed on the deal, it has to come before the Dail and other national parliaments of Member States for debate before CETA can be fully-approved.