The EU-Mercosur Agreement has been labelled a “monumental folly”, with its timing a particular issue for the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Commenting on the deal, new ICSA president, Edmond Phelan, questioned the logic of “allowing vast quantities of extra South American beef into the EU at a time when we have no idea what post-Brexit trading arrangements will be between the UK and Europe”.

He also raised question marks on the deal, noting that climate mitigation measures are being prioritised in both domestic and EU agendas.

“Mercosur is, quite simply, the wrong deal at the wrong time,” he said.

Phelan will attend the Beef Plan Movement protest in Dublin today, Wednesday, July 10, in a show of solidarity with all those who oppose the deal.

Speaking ahead of the protest, Phelan said: “Beef farmers throughout the country are right to be aggrieved at this sell-out and the hypocrisy associated with it.

The deal is especially galling in the context of a saturated beef market in Europe, coupled with declining consumption.

“The deal also completely undermines the EU’s moral authority to lead on climate change by displacing local beef with beef imported from thousands of miles away and which is causing destruction of rainforest while sustainable EU beef systems will be made completely unviable.

“Our message here today is clear; we will not stand by while hard-working, family-run Irish beef farms are sacrificed in this manner,” the ICSA president concluded.