Critics have been “proven right” in claiming that European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan is “not the person to defend Irish agricultural interests”, according to MEP for Midlands-North West Matt Carthy.

Speaking on European Parliamentary Radio (EuroParlRadio) today, Friday, July 5, the recently re-elected Sinn Féin MEP was scathing of both Commissioner Hogan and the EU-Mercosur Agreement, negotiated last week.

Commenting in Strasbourg, Carthy said:

“We told the Government five years ago when they were appointing Phil Hogan as commissioner that he would absolutely not be the person to defend Irish agricultural interests if there came a point in time where he was needed in all of this.

“We’ve been proven right in all of that,” he claimed.

“We now need to have a change of mind at Government level and this applies to both Fianna Fáil as well as Fine Gael in relation to their approach to EU trade deals which aren’t the same as free trade deals of the past.

This is a new generation trade agenda that is aimed at removing non tariffs – which is what trade deals were traditionally all about – but what are called non-tariff barriers.

“Those non-tariff barriers to you and me mean the standards and regulations and protections that have been put in place to protect our interests,” the MEP claimed.

It was also stated on EuroParlRadio that Sinn Féin will move a private members’ motion in the Dáil next week calling for the rejection of the Mercosur trade deal.

Farmers have reacted strongly against the recently agreed draft deal with four South American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), saying it will have devastating consequences for the Irish meat sector.

Carthy added that the announcement of the deal couldn’t come at a worse time and that the Government has to find a way to veto it when it comes to its ratification.