Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been criticised for preparing to promote the ‘controversial’ Canada-EU Comprehensive and Economic Free Trade Agreement (CETA) by Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy.

The Taoiseach is set to visit Canada next week to discuss the deal, despite the trade deal not being debated in the Dail as of yet, he added.

“The Taoiseach is visiting Canada next week where he will meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss and promote the highly-controversial CETA deal.

This deal has raised serious concerns among many citizens, particularly farmers, workers and small and medium indigenous companies.

“Despite these concerns the Government has signed off on the provisional application of the deal at EU level; disregarding the fact that it must be agreed by all national parliaments, including the Dail.

“The Dail has not yet voted on this deal; amazingly it hasn’t even debated it. In actual fact, the only vote in the Oireachtas was a Seanad resolution calling on the government not to ratify the deal,” Carthy said.

Will CETA trade deal require a referendum?

Many people will find it objectionable that the Taoiseach is willing to discuss and promote this ‘dangerous trade deal’ with the Canadian Prime Minister, but not with fellow TDs in the Dail, he added.

Several TDs have expressed ‘deep and well-founded concerns’ about the implications of the CETA deal, according to the Sinn Fein MEP.

It is my firm belief, based on legal advice I have received, that under the Irish Constitution final ratification of CETA requires a referendum.

“This is because of the inclusion within the deal of an Investment Court that would have powers to fine governments for enacting legislation that impact on the profits of corporations. I suspect that there would be little public appetite for such a scenario.

“The Government has recently denied the Dail a debate on CETA, a decision which exposed Fine Gael’s complete disregard for the Irish Constitution, the justice system, as well as contempt for the Dail itself and the people of Ireland.

“As is his style, it appears that the Taoiseach would rather talk to foreign leaders about matters which directly concern Irish citizens than make himself or his Government accountable to the Dail. This is unacceptable,” Carthy said.

The CETA trade deal between the EU and Canada was passed by the European Parliament in mid-February.

Following a vote in Strasbourg, the Parliament decided to give the deal the green light with 408 MEPs voting in favour of the deal and 254 voting against it. Some 33 MEPs abstained from the vote.