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Snippet Contents:

I share the opinion of the Irish Immigrant Council that this is not acceptable. In fact, I would say that it is shameful.
Last week, "Match of the Day" presenter Mr. Gary Lineker called on the UK Government to do more and to take more child refugees into the UK. Although he was criticised and abused by The Sun newspaper and by Tory MPs, many ordinary people agreed with the substance of his comments. Where are the Irish Gary Linekers? Why are there not more famous people here speaking out? They should do so because 20 lone children is a scandal and many, many more should be taken in.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, currently hangs in the balance. This EU-Canadian trade treaty opens the door to the privatisation of public services and lowers regulation to the lowest common denominator in fields such as environmental regulation, labour laws and so on. It extends patent protection for prescription drugs, thereby pushing up drug costs and it establishes an investor court system. An investor court system will mean that corporations can sue national governments that introduce new legislation which might restrict their ability to maximise profits. This has the potential to unleash a wave of corporate law suits. Courts of this kind have been used in the past to undermine progressive legislation. For example, when the German Government, under pressure from public protest and public opinion, sought to phase out nuclear power, a Scandinavian nuclear power corporation sued it in an investor court and won hefty damages which were ultimately paid by German taxpayers. Such courts will be able to be used in this way under this new treaty. For example, if a government in an EU member state were to introduce legislation to ban the environmentally dangerous process of fracking it would be open to being sued and forced to pay damages should a case be taken to the investor court by a Canada based fracking corporation.
Some might say that there are not too many Canadian corporations that might go down that road but they should think again because 81% of companies in Canada are US subsidiaries. Approximately 24,000 US companies have office space and a base in Canada. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, a trade agreement between the EU and the US, is in serious difficulty, in large measure because of huge public opposition but CETA can be TTIP by the back door. There are real dangers involved here. I welcome the fact that four regional parliaments in Belgium have come out against it. They are reflecting public opposition, including huge trade union opposition, in that country. If there is to be any kind of democratic debate or check on this, democracy will win against this agreement. That is the popular feeling in Europe. CETA has been voted down in the Seanad. It will have to be brought before the Dáil and we must have a major debate on it. My colleagues and I will be making the case against this pro-capitalist, anti-worker treaty.