The EU Mercosur trade deal has been labelled “an absolute disgrace, which completely undermines the EU’s moral authority to lead on climate change” by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Slamming the deal, which was announced earlier this evening, Friday, June 28, newly elected ICSA president Edmond Phelan said:

“Let there be no doubt: A calculated decision has been made by European leaders to increase car sales, mainly petrol and diesel, at the price of sacrificing the EU beef farmer.”

The president said that the Irish beef sector, with 90% exported to EU markets, will “take the full brunt of this outrageous decision”.

It beggars belief that more rainforests will be cut down to facilitate Brazilian beef expansion while sustainable EU beef systems will be made completely unviable.

“At a time when Brexit is already damaging the Irish beef sector, this deal is a complete betrayal of Irish cattle farmers.

“What is the point of farmers planting trees here when trees are being cut down in South America and massive quantities of fuel will be burnt to ship cheap, lower standard Brazilian beef to a market which is already fully supplied?”

Phelan outlined that the ICSA will be demanding that the Oireachtas is given its say on this and that every single Irish politician stands up for “our interests”.

This deal has nothing in it for Ireland. Consumers will see less and less Irish beef as we abandon any pretence that local, sustainable food matters and we become more and more dependent on South America.

“It’s not just beef; the deal also will see more chicken from South America.

“The Government must stand up for Irish farmers; there is no room for equivocation on this,” Phelan concluded.