Fianna Fáil has accused the Government of “playing politics” by not conducting an economic assessment on the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement earlier then next summer.

Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on agriculture, food and the marine, argued that “farmers will not have the wool pulled over their eyes by the latest Fine Gael stroke on Mercosur”.

“Minister Creed has confirmed to me in a PQ [parliamentary question] reply that the Government-commissioned economic impact assessment on the Mercosur trade deal ‘will be completed by summer 2020’,” the Donegal TD added.

Fine Gael is playing politics with this sensitive political issue by kicking it into touch until after the next general election.

“The Government let down beef farmers horrendously in the run up to the Mercosur political agreement and failed to put up any fight with like-minded countries in acquiescing to the EU’s offer of 99,000t of beef access for South American countries,” McConalogue claimed.

The Fianna Fáil deputy argued that such a deal would impact on beef prices, farm incomes and the environment.

“It undermines EU climate change policy, with large volumes of South American beef entering the EU market from less carbon efficient production models,” he added.

Government must oppose any ratification of the Mercosur deal due to the fact the full impact of Brexit is still unknown, given half our beef exports transit to the UK with no instant alternative markets available.

“The Fine Gael led Government must stop playing politics with the impact assessment. For full farmer transparency, it must bring forward the publication date before the summer so there is full disclosure before the next election,” McConalogue concluded.