The Irish Government is leading Irish farmers and the very future of farming itself down a destructive path in supporting a trade deal with the US that will undermine our produce and flood European markets with cheap grain fed beef.
That’s the view of Green Party Environment Spokesperson Cllr Malcolm Noonan. Cllr Noonan claims that the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is being negotiated behind closed doors by the Obama administration and the EU Commission and that its agenda is to liberalise trade markets between two territories that have very different sets of regulation, labour laws and quality of food.
‘TTIP is quite rightly being opposed by farmers across the US, Canada and here in Europe because it will hand power to a small number of large agri corporations, undermine our green food brand here in Ireland and leave us with no choice but to accept cheap US GM grain fed beef and poultry’ said Cllr Noonan.
He warned a gathering of farmers during the By Election debate in Carlow Kilkenny that if the IFA and the Irish Government continue to support TTIP then they would ultimately push Irish farming to extinction. ‘We will be left with a number of ranch farms in Ireland because small holdings will no longer be viable in the face of competition from the massive agri food sector in the US. The tillage sector in Carlow will be wiped out by this deal and our Government seems hellbent on pursuing it’ said Cllr Noonan.
Cllr Noonan said that a mechanism in the trade deal titled Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) means that foreign US and Canadian corporations will have the right to sue for damages if they believe that they have suffered losses because of laws or measures of the EU or of individual EU member states .This can also affect laws which were enacted in the interest of the common good, such as environmental and consumer protection’ he said.
‘Irish farming is facing an uncertain future because of unfair pricing practices of retail multiples as well as over production in dairy and beef markets. There is no doubt in my mind that TTIP is the greatest single long term threat to the viability of Irish farming. It’s high time that our Government and the IFA begin to listen to the voices of thousands of farmers across the US and Europe as well as consumers and NGO’s and stand up for our farmers by resisting TTIP and insisting that negotiations become open to all and transparent. Otherwise we face an uncertain future and the hard work of our farmers to build the highest quality food production systems in the World will be for nothing’ he concluded.