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Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (Continued)

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 984 No. 5

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton] We will continue to press those concerns. We need to undertake that evaluation and look at how to deal with it as it unfolds. Finalising the legal documentation will take a number of years and there will be a phasing period, over six years, in the context of implementation. We need to draw back. While we understand fully the concern of beef farmers, we need to evaluate it in the round and continue to press Ireland's very strong case.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Minister might answer the question asked. Has the Government decided to oppose this deal? The Minister has responsibility for climate change response and he did not deal with the central point I made. A right-wing leader who favours development over conservation was elected in Brazil. A hectare of land is being cleared every minute there and the single biggest reason to fell these trees - according to any official figure in Brazil - is to make way to create new pastures for cattle. Countless herds are grazing on land that was once rainforest. I put it to the Minister that this is the uncomfortable truth. I ask him not to tell me that these political leaders are committed and pledged to the Paris Agreement because it means absolutely nothing to them.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley They are certainly not committed to Ireland.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin There is documentary evidence in the form of satellite imagery which shows that there has been a rapid acceleration of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest in the past six months. Both Europe and the Government are being cagey. They are not highlighting this but it should be a showstopper. The behaviour of the Brazilian Government in respect of the Amazon rainforest should be a showstopper in the context of Mercosur. I put it to the Minister that pledging to the Paris Agreement in the never-never does not correspond with the reality of what is happening right now. The European Union's response is to reward this and incentivise the destruction of the Amazon rainforest to have more pasture for more beef that will come into Europe eventually.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Deputy is distorting the reality. This trade deal has compliance with the Paris Agreement at its heart. If there is not compliance with the Paris Agreement, there is no deal.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley We do not even comply with the Paris Agreement. Ireland is well off its targets.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton It contains specific provisions regarding multilateral environmental agreements-----

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary What about carbon?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton -----so it deals specifically with these. For the first time, there will be governments which - as the Deputy rightly stated - may not have had a record of complying with these agreements.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It is going on now.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton They may sign up as a precondition for the opportunity to gain the advantages of a trade agreement but they must comply with these arrangements.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin They are not going to comply.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton If they do not comply, there is, as the Deputy is aware, a six-year phasing period at any stage during which there can be interventions to block the progress of the agreement.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It should be a showstopper right now.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton In addition, human rights and environmental groups have access to the documents that will be produced through this agreement. This is an open and transparent agreement under which people who are third parties can represent their views and bring to the attention of the parties any failures in the context of compliance with the agreement. It provides for action if that happens. This is the first time we have had a trade agreement that includes respect for the Paris Agreement-----

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Previous Brazilian Governments had a different policy.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton -----for health and safety standards, for environmental standards and for food standards.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley The Minister has not even read it.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Previous Brazilian Governments had a different policy which was about conservation. This new guy is changing all of that.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald The Minister is making a very lame attempt to defend the indefensible, which is the Mercosur agreement. It should be remembered that Fianna Fáil agreed the mandate for negotiations for this deal back in 1999.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley Where was Sinn Féin in 1999?

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald The Minister will be aware that Sinn Féin has spent the past five years calling on the Minister and Fine Gael to withdraw support for this mandate. Now we have this deal-----

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Deputy's party agreed peace in 1999.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher It is Leaders' Questions, Deputy McDonald-----

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald I am sorry to offend by putting the facts of this matter on the record. Yet, here we find ourselves faced with this deal. The Taoiseach's position is that if it is good for Ireland, we will support it. That is the stated position of the Government. All of the main farming organisations and stakeholders across the island oppose the deal.


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