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 Header Item Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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 are providing the framework within which Irish farming can continue to thrive in what is a high-quality sector. Let us not forget that in countries such as China there has been major growth in interest in and demand for beef. If we have a premium product and if we possess the highest possible credentials, then we can avail of opportunities in particular countries while also continuing to trade with those with which we already have trading agreements. There are opportunities as well as threats. A balance has to be struck. It is worth reading the text of the agreement in some detail. It is also worth recognising that there are threats and opportunities and that we need to work our way through them.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae What the Minister said is very interesting. Any person who tuned into what he said will be really interested. For the past three minutes, he has been trying to sell this deal. He has been trying to justify it, he has been trying to take the sting out of it-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Hear, hear.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae -----and he has been trying to say that there is no harm in this agreement. How can he, as a senior Minister of long standing, and a man highly respected across the political spectrum, spend three minutes saying what he has just said? He is trying to sell the unsellable and defend the indefensible. This agreement is a direct attack on our farming community. How in the name of God can the Minister and the Government try to justify it?

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Hear, hear.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I ask him that question on behalf of the IFA, the ICMSA, and the various farming organisations. On behalf of every farmer I am pleading with the Minister, the Taoiseach and the rest of the Government to wake up and realise that our farmers need to be defended. They are watching what is going on here today and they wanted to hear the Minister's views. They knew that this issue was going to be raised by Deputies Micheál Martin and McDonald, among others. They wanted to hear what the Minister had to say. What they have heard is him defending a deal that is totally and indescribably bad for our farming community. If they were worried already, they will be extremely worried now.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton It is worth repeating that when the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, with Canada was introduced, the reaction in the House was exactly the same.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin No. We put forward a motion welcoming the Canadian agreement.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The same comments to the effect that the Canadian agreement was a sell-out were a feature of the reaction to it.

Deputy Thomas Byrne: Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne It has not been ratified yet.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I ask that the Minister be heard, without interruption.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton That agreement has proved beneficial. I am not stating that the agreement before us is perfect by any means; it is not. However, it is incumbent on all of us to look at it and at the protections that are built into it in order to assess how we can use them to benefit our farmers.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin To benefit them.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton We must also consider how we can strengthen the agreement in the coming two years. We must evaluate the agreement and both sides of the argument-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Ah, Minister.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton -----in order to assess whether, in the overall interests of the country, we should oppose what is involved. It is dangerous for people in this House - scarcely after the ink on the agreement has dried and possibly without everyone having had an opportunity to read it - to draw conclusions.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The ink is well dry.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley Has the Minister read the agreement?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton As the Taoiseach stated, we need to take the time to evaluate the agreement. Having had that opportunity, we will then make a decision as to where Ireland's interests lie and how we will seek to protect Irish farmers. That is what we will do.

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I may be breaking with protocol but I think I should welcome the students who are here from the United Arab Emirates from the Al-Maktoum summer school. I met them earlier. They are accompanied by the Irish ambassador to the UAE, His Excellency, Mr. Aidan Cronin, and the students are being hosted by our colleagues Deputies Breathnach, Catherine Martin and Maureen O'Sullivan. They are all very welcome.

Deputy Brendan Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan The business this week shall be as set out in the first revised report of the Business Committee dated 1 July 2019. Regarding today's business, it is proposed that Nos. 13 and 14, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Amendment to the Articles of Agreement of the International Finance Corporation, back from committee, and motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann to instruct the committee on the Parole Bill 2016, shall be taken without debate and any divisions demanded thereon shall be taken immediately. No. 15, motion to instruct the committee on the Local Government (Rates) Bill 2018 shall conclude within one hour, if not previously concluded. Speeches shall be confined to a single round for a Minister or Minister of State and the main spokespersons for parties or groups, or a member nominated in their stead, and shall not exceed 7.5 minutes each. Any division demanded thereon shall be taken immediately. The Dáil shall sit later than 10 p.m. and shall adjourn not later than 11 p.m.


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