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Snippet Contents:

Does the Taoiseach agree that the democratic political process in Belgium must be respected and that all threats against the people of Wallonia should be lifted? There is a need for a serious rethink of the EU trade policy agenda, particularly the secrecy surrounding such deals, an issue I have raised on many occasions. There is clearly huge public opposition to trade deals such as the CETA. Most people are reluctant to give multinational corporations the power to control sovereign governments through an investment court system, previously known as the investor state dispute mechanism. This issue should be re-examined in the context of the fact that there has been no debate on the CETA in this House. I agree with previous speakers that it is wrong that we are pushing ahead on this agreement without a discussion of it, even at committee level, never mind anywhere else.
I would like in the time remaining to focus on the issue of migration. We are all aware of the humanitarian crisis because of the closure of the camp in Calais which I understand is on fire and in which there were hundreds of unaccompanied minors. I heard this morning that the Minister of State, Deputy David Stanton, was in Greece to discuss what Ireland could do to help in this regard. I am concerned about some of the deals discussed at the EU Council meeting, including the European Union's threat to reduce aid to Afghanistan if it does not accept the return of 80,000 deported asylum seekers. I understand tentative agreement has been reached between the European Union and Afghanistan in that regard, but how can we stand over this in the context of the human rights violations that will result? We know that, on average, 14 people die per day while crossing the Mediterranean. Reference was made by other speakers to the positive role being played in this regard by the Naval Service. However, we have shown poor leadership on that thus far, with only 69 refugees being accepted into Ireland. I have asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade a number of times this week and previously at various fora for a note on the difficulties being experienced in this regard. Perhaps the Taoiseach or somebody else might provide those of us who continually raise the issue of migration in this Parliament with information on where the problem lies and where the blockages are. He might take on the task of informing us of what positive action we could take in order that we could inform others.