Serious concerns regarding the Mercosur trade agreement among many in the farming community was a key talking point between Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus and Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue during a recent meeting between the two.

Commenting following the meeting, MacManus said: “I met with Minister McConalogue and raised my concerns in regards to the Mercosur trade deal.

“This deal would allow Brazil [and Mercosur countries] to flood the European market with 99,000t of beef. Such an event would lead to an extended period of depressed prices for our farmers.”

MacManus also highlighted the environmental impact of any such deal. “In addition to hurting farmers, the deal flies in the face of our environmental commitments.

The Green New Deal commits to no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 – yet approval of Mercosur would increase emissions by 1.3 gigatons, 3% of annual emissions.

“In recent weeks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has added her voice to those who recognise this contradiction,” he added.

“Thirdly, it is a bad deal for EU consumers; almost 200 chemicals banned in the EU are commonplace in Brazilian agricultural production,” the MEP claimed.

“I reminded Minister McConalogue that his party, Fianna Fáil, joined with Sinn Féin to reject Mercosur in the Dáil last year.

“Sinn Féin will continue to seek an unequivocal commitment from this government that it will not sell out Irish farmers in the name of ensuring German car manufactures get access to the South American market,” MacManus concluded.