Updated: 31/01/18 : 05:30:41
Independent MEP Marian Harkin has strongly criticised the proposed EU-Mercusor trade deal as a sell-out of EU agriculture, with Ireland the single biggest casualty.
Describing the imminent deal as a capitulation to the interests of major EU industrial goods exporters she said that it could mean the death knell of Ireland’s beef sector which currently represents a €2.5 billion contribution to Ireland’s economy.
“Coming on the heels of Brexit, from which Ireland will suffer most, this deal is really bad news for Irish beef producers as the EU market will be over supplied with the high value beef cuts that are essential to sustaining Ireland’s beef sector”, she said.
The deal would have far reaching effects on all of rural Ireland, she stressed, as it was estimated that for every 1 euro provided in support for Ireland’s 100,000 suckler farmers there was a 4 euro return which was hugely important to sustaining the towns and villages throughout the country, she said.
Marian Harkin continued:- “In the context of escalating deforestation in Brazil, it makes absolutely no sense that the EU Commission is proposing to massively increase the amount of beef it is importing which in turn fuels increased levels of deforestation in Brazil and contributes significantly to higher CO2 emissions. On the other hand that self-same EU Commission is facilitating the Irish government to give 100% grant aid to afforestation, pricing local farmers out of the land market and displacing more climate friendly livestock production. This crazy policy which negatively impacts on climate change is putting efficient EU producers out of business.
“I will be strongly opposing any deal of this nature in the European Parliament. I am calling on the Irish government and the EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to actively reject any such deal which is little more than a sell-out of Irish beef farmers and will have a significantly negative impact on the Irish economy, particularly the rural economy”, Marian Harkin concluded.