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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] This is really important to a small open trading economic like ours. We need to step back. We recognise that there are threats to a very important sector here. We need to use the timeframe between now and final ratification of the deal to examine it and make our case in a cogent way, because these documents have to be drawn up in detail.

My understanding as to whether the Dáil will have a role is that that depends on the legal interpretation of whether this is a mixed agreement or purely a trade agreement. If it is a mixed agreement, which is probably likely, then the Dáil will have a role in the ratification.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald The Minister is right to acknowledge that we have opposed this deal and negotiation from the get-go, from as far back as 1999 when Fianna Fáil agreed the mandate-----

Deputy Thomas Byrne: Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne The Deputy's colleagues were shooting people in 1999.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald -----and, as I said, in the course of the last five years. We have urged Government to stand by farming families and rural Ireland and, also, to stand by that which is sustainable and sensible and things that protect our planet rather than underscoring wholesale vandalism in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. It is laughable to hear the Minister try to explain away the destruction of the rainforest with verbiage around Paris commitments. The Paris commitments count for nothing insofar as the current Brazilian Administration is concerned, and well the Minister knows it.

The Government is going into this agreement with its eyes wide open. It knows that for the beef sector in particular, but also the poultry and pigmeat sectors, this deal is really bad news. It knows that, coupled with Brexit and the fall in beef prices, it is potentially calamitous. The Government has to know, because it has to have some level of common sense, that it is not a good thing to import Brazilian beef instead of supporting the production, sale and consumption of Irish traceable beef in Ireland.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I call the Minister to respond.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald That is a matter of common sense. I again call on the Minister-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher He got the question.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald He has hidden behind legal interpretations of the trade deal in terms of whether it is mixed or not. I have to insist that, as the elected representatives of the Irish people, we have our say on this matter.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I call the Minister to respond.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald I have to insist that a Government-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher There is not time left.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald -----that has failed Irish farming families and rural Ireland, at a minimum, allows us, the people's elected representatives in this House, the opportunity to defend their interests where it will not to do so.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher We will have to look at Leaders' Questions in the future because not only one leader, all leaders, are exceeding the time.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Not all leaders.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Some leaders.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath It is the same leaders every time.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I have listened to Deputy Mary Lou McDonald in this House for some time and I have seen her consistently oppose the Canadian agreement, the Japanese agreement, the Korean agreement, all of which we have had significant benefits from. The reality is that these trade agreements have helped Ireland, particularly at a time of very real difficulty, to be able to diversify away from reliance on some markets. As Britain is leaving the European Union, we need to diversify our export base. We also have to be conscious of our defensive interests, one of which is the beef sector. We have very successfully made the case defending the Irish beef sector.

It is beholden on the Deputy to evaluate this agreement in the round because we have not seen governments sign up to honour the Paris Agreement through trade agreements before. This is a strong incentive, and a significant loss, to these countries should they fail to comply with their responsibilities. It is important that we in this House recognise that if we want to tackle climate change, we need to do so not by isolating governments that we feel are not doing their bit but by putting more pressure on them to comply.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin They are being rewarded.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton This is an agreement that will put pressure on these countries to comply with their obligations.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald That is rubbish.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton They are part of a multilateral strategy-----

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Minister is being dishonest.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton -----to try to deliver the climate protections that we all crave.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Government has extended its rent pressure zones to another 19 areas in 11 counties. However, the policy is not working because the Government's limit of a 4% annual rise in rent is far too high.


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