Trade and Foreign Direct Investment: Motion [Private Members]

I move:

That Dáil Éireann:


— the pioneering and transformative vision, under the leadership of Seán Lemass, with the introduction of the First Programme for Economic Expansion and others who followed in radically opening the Irish economy to foreign direct investment, FDI, and trade;

— the over 300,000 persons employed in foreign multinational enterprises across Ireland, with 200,000 people working in Industrial Development Authority, IDA, Ireland supported companies and service industries;

— that European Union, EU, exports to the rest of the world support one in every four jobs in Ireland;

— the success in attracting FDI to Ireland over many decades with United States FDI outflows to Ireland accounting for over $31 billion in 2016; and

— the attraction and retention of Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate to retain and grow our FDI jobs footprint;


— the significant threat that Brexit poses for trade on the island of Ireland;

— that trade agreements benefit Ireland in terms of increased jobs, exports, and small and medium-sized enterprise business opportunities on the basis that as an exporting country Ireland stands to benefit disproportionately from the potential for expanded tariff-free market access;

— the independent study by Copenhagen Economics that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, would add 1.1% to gross domestic product in Ireland, increase Irish exports to the world by around 4% and create up to 10,000 jobs; and

— that free-trade agreements must ensure the maintenance of premier EU standards relating to consumer protection, food, health, environment, social and labour standards; and

calls for:

— Ireland to further endorse free-trade agreements to intensify employment and export growth opportunities;

— the removal of barriers to trade via fair and free trade agreements, predicated on ensuring that EU standards related to consumer protection, food, health, environment, social and labour standards remain untouched;

— the support and endorsement of an ambitious Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, CETA, in order to open new markets and grow Irish jobs; and

— the expansion of diplomatic staff in Irish embassies and enterprise agency offices overseas.

I intend to share time with Deputies James Lawless and John McGuinness.

I am happy to put forward this motion in Fianna Fáil's Private Members' time to highlight the immense benefits that trade and foreign direct investment have brought to Ireland in terms of jobs, investment and export growth. I look forward to hearing from all Deputies and I hope we have a constructive discussion.

My party supports free trade and removing barriers to trade. This is essential for Ireland as Irish small and medium-sized enterprises need to be successful. However, we also believe that trade must be fair and must protect the positions of citizens and states.

Under the transformative steps and leadership of Seán Lemass, and others who followed him, the introduction of the first Programme for Economic Expansion contributed to radically opening the Irish economy to foreign direct investment and trade. The immense benefits of foreign direct investment to Ireland are irrefutable in the context of jobs. The Central Statistics Office recently revealed that 300,000 people are employed by foreign multinational enterprises in Ireland, providing high-quality jobs. Meanwhile, IDA Ireland, the State agency tasked with attracting investment to Ireland by foreign-owned companies, estimates that for every ten jobs generated by foreign direct investment a further five are generated in the wider economy. Furthermore, the footprint of US investment in Ireland has been significant, with up to 150,000 people directly employed here in over 700 US firms. The recent American Chamber of Commerce publication, The Transatlantic Economy 2017 – An Annual Survey of Jobs, Trade and Investment between the United States and Europe, highlighted the continued pattern in attracting foreign direct investment to Ireland over many decades. In 2016 alone, US foreign direct investment outflows to Ireland accounted for over €31 billion, that is, almost 20% of total US foreign direct investment in Europe. In addition, research and development expenditure by US affiliates in Ireland totalled €2.4 billion.

Our corporation tax rate is vital. The stability of our transparent tax regime over the years has been a key strength through our 12.5% corporation tax rate. Since the rate is a key policy lever, it is paramount that Ireland retains a competitive tax environment for inward investment. Retaining the rate is vital in this regard. Corporation tax receipts that accrue to the State are important for Exchequer funding and for investing in our public services.

While others on the hard left in this House wish to denigrate our corporate tax regime, it must be noted that Ireland's corporate tax rules are fully in accordance with OECD guidelines on taxation. It is interesting to note that Sinn Féin MEPs decided not to don the green jersey last year. Instead, they chose to abstain rather than vote against the European Parliament report that supported a European common consolidated corporate tax regime. This regime would be a retrograde step for Ireland's jobs and investment interests. There must be continued commitment by the State not to agree to any common consolidated corporate tax base and to ensure that EU treaty provisions continue to guarantee member state autonomy in setting corporate tax policy.

Trade agreements benefit Ireland in terms of increased jobs, exports and SME business opportunities. This is because as an exporting country Ireland stands to benefit disproportionately from the potential for expanded tariff-free market access. EU exports to the rest of the world support one in every four jobs in Ireland. Tariff-free trade has immensely benefited Ireland in the form of bilateral EU trade agreements with other jurisdictions. For example, the EU-Korea free trade agreement had a very positive impact with regard to investment and bilateral trade. There has been a significant increase in trade between Korea and Ireland since the agreement came into operation in 2011 with trade in goods increasing by 166% to €1.8 billion and trade in services increasing by 90% to €680 million.

Ireland must continue to remove barriers to trade by endorsing fair and free trade agreements to intensify employment and export growth opportunities. However, this is predicated on ensuring that EU standards relating to consumer protection, food, health, the environment, social and labour standards remain untouched. Ensuring the protection of premier European standards is a red-line issue that Ireland must uphold at all times in trade agreements.

Fianna Fáil fully supports the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, between the EU and Canada. The agreement will benefit Ireland in terms of increased jobs and SME business opportunities for Ireland. CETA will remove over 99% of tariffs between the two economies and create sizeable new market access opportunities in terms of services and investment. CETA will provide Irish companies with complete access to Canadian public tenders.

A strong trading relationship exists between Ireland and Canada. This is reflected in the €2.75 billion worth of annual trade between the countries. Indigenous Irish company exports to Canada have grown by over 250% in the five years to 2015 with a value of €185 million. It has been predicted that CETA will result in a €250 million increase in Irish exports per annum.

Fianna Fáil also supports the concept of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement between the EU and the United States. This is based on the fact that, as an exporting country, Ireland stands to benefit given that 49% of Ireland's non-EU exports are with the US, while the average for the EU 28 countries is only 16%. While TTIP talks have stalled since the new Trump Administration took office, an independent study by Copenhagen Economics showed that TTIP would add 1.1% to gross domestic product in Ireland, resulting in an increase in Irish exports to the world by approximately 4% and could create up to 10,000 jobs.

While we support the general principles of TTIP, there is a caveat. The successful conclusion of the EU-US free trade agreement depends on maintaining proper European standards and on ensuring that the jurisdiction of our courts is not undermined.

Brexit poses a significant threat for trade on the island of Ireland, especially if any customs border were to return.

A very recent report by InterTradeIreland and the ESRI laid out how the imposition of World Trade Organization tariffs would be catastrophic for cross-Border trade. The €2.6 billion of cross-Border trade in goods could plunge by up to 17% if a hard Brexit transpires in the absence of an EU-UK trade deal. It is vital that the special status of Northern Ireland is recognised in any final trade deal, with unhindered trade continuing on the whole island.

Finally, our motion calls for the expansion of the diplomatic staff in Irish embassies and enterprise agency offices overseas to open new job opportunities and new markets, given how exposed we are to Brexit. Our current resource preparedness leaves a lot to be desired. The facts speak for themselves, with 65% of Irish embassies having only one or two diplomatic staff. Meanwhile, Enterprise Ireland has 25 overseas offices and IDA Ireland just 20 international offices. The allocation of €3 million in budget 2017 for increasing staff in agencies under the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to meet the Brexit challenge was a drop in the ocean and totally inadequate. It is very concerning that to date in 2017, only 12 of the 39 posts have been filled by Enterprise Ireland while, under IDA Ireland, only one of the ten envisaged posts has been filled.

In conclusion, as an open economy heavily dependent on trade, Ireland needs to exploit all opportunities to increase trade, investment and exports to retain and enlarge our foreign direct investment jobs footprint. I hope that Members across the House strongly endorse this motion, firmly supporting trade and foreign direct investment as pillars of Irish industrial policy which have created hundreds of thousands of jobs for our citizens and increased exports over the four corners of the world.

I congratulate the new Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, the Tánaiste, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald. I look forward to working with her. I also congratulate the Minister of State, Deputy John Halligan, on his reappointment and on the addition of research and development to his responsibilities. I look forward to working closely with him and know he understands the importance of the area.

As has been noted, Irish industrial policy owes a huge debt of gratitude to Seán Lemass, who began the outward-looking policy we enjoy to this day in terms of outreach and attracting inward, foreign direct investment. This has proved vital to our economic strategy and survival and is fundamental to the economy that we enjoy today. Ours is very much a knowledge economy, based upon a productive sector which is tied in closely with our education sector, leading to highly skilled, highly paid jobs for our graduates who have gone from success to success in the field. As my colleague, Deputy Collins, has outlined, we know the statistics. There are 300,000 people directly employed today in FDI-related jobs. For every ten of those direct jobs, there are estimated to be a further seven related jobs in the service industry. This is a huge pillar of our industrial policy and overall economy. It is absolutely vital that we maintain and support it.

We are all very well aware of the threat Brexit poses to the relationship with our largest trading partner across the water. We are also aware of the changing world order, with Britain setting out its stance and looking around the world to renew Commonwealth acquaintances and other types of deals. Whether they are at the front or the back of the queue, we need to be out there as well in terms of Irish positioning. Through CETA and TTIP, Europe is advancing those kinds of relationships and making sure those trade deals are open and intact and that Ireland has secured its place in any queue that is out there. We must ensure that we continue to do business. Indeed, with such a high percentage of our trade being with the USA, it is relatively more important that we should maintain that relationship.

In terms of the specifics, my own constituency of Kildare North has a number of FDI companies such as Intel, Hewlett Packard, Pfizer, Kerry Group and IBM. Nearby, Dublin city is also home to many multinationals. For the vast majority of my constituents, if they do not work locally they commute to work in multinationals in Dublin city. It is very much at the core of employment and the economy locally in my constituency and nationally. It is very important that we support the high end, value-added research and development area. This area is proven to have a multiplier effect in terms of the return on investment.

In respect of our embassy staff abroad, I am fortunate to have had dealings with some of them during my time here. They do an excellent job, but there are not enough of them. There are 80 diplomatic offices around the world managing 178 different countries, yet we only have 25 Enterprise Ireland and 20 IDA Ireland stations. We need to resource, grow and extend the staff available in order to grow our outreach around the world. I am sure the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, will share this view.

In terms of the Food and Drug Administration, this is something we could explore in respect of the pharmaceutical industry. Flipping the matter on its head, if we could invite an FDA outpost here it could be very attractive for pharmaceutical firms operating in Ireland, American firms in particular, to have drugs and foods authenticated and approved here rather than having to return to the mother ship, as it were, to do so. It would be a very positive step.

Some concerns have been raised around CETA and TTIP. Some of the concerns are valid and Fianna Fáil shares them. In terms of the inter-country dispute mechanisms, it is a fact that there have always been courts of transnational jurisdiction. However, we certainly support those concerns and share them. We have expressed our view that any such provisions in these treaties will have to be mitigated and modified in order to gain our support. On the whole, the mechanism is vital for our economic strategy. We need to invest in it in terms of resources and continued support and success. It has worked. Let us keep it going and resource it further.

I congratulate the Minister, Deputy Fitzgerald, and the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, and wish them well in their portfolios. There is a considerable amount of work to be done and enterprise is a huge part of the success story in Ireland. We need to enhance that story, enhance the staff around it and ensure that we break into new and different markets in order to create the sustainable jobs that we now need.

I will take up from the previous speaker in respect of the court system that is mentioned in CETA. I highlight people's concerns about that system. The key to dealing with it will be to ensure that the standards we ask for and demand for the quality of goods and services that we export abroad is maintained. The one thing that sets Ireland apart from most other countries is the fact that we deal in quality. When people see that a product was made or sourced in Ireland, they need to be comfortable with the fact that what we have here is a quality product. If we fly the flag of proper, high standards and good quality, the issues around that court system will be outweighed by the fact that we are adhering to high standards and do not adhere to a lower standard of any kind. We can say that about the export of our beef and many products. They are held well in markets that companies in Ireland have fought hard to get into.

In respect of any of the trade missions abroad, there is no doubt that their success has been down to the success of our diplomats, the bureaucrats who work for us in those countries, and above all the fact that Irish companies are able and willing to get into these markets. They have the products and services that are in demand in most of those areas.

We should not forget agriculture in terms of how we sell our products abroad, nor should we forget our horse industry.

There is a significant link between the way our horse industry exports abroad and making connections at the highest level within the biggest economies in order to open a door, establish friendship and make it easier for other entrepreneurs who travel in trade missions to gain access to some of the bigger companies. We do not make enough of that in the context of how we present ourselves abroad.

I wish to highlight the Asian markets, and, in particular, to mention Taiwan. We had an office in Taipei, which has been closed. It was costing in the region of €50,000 a year just to have a presence there, but that office should be re-opened. It is a country of 24 million people with major similarities between what its people want and demand, and what our country can provide. They are currently seeking a double taxation arrangement to which we should adhere and agree. Europe should be to the fore in forging new relationships, while acknowledging that country's status and diplomatic position and basing it solely on trade.

The "one China" policy is something that we recognise and there is no difference between us in that regard. Trade is now front and centre of everything that we should be doing. Why leave a country of 24 million people without touching it when other countries within the European Union are making direct trade arrangements with Taiwan? It does not make sense. It is a stepping stone directly into the Asian market, to China and beyond, and there is significant interest in that market. Right across most of the countries with which we now trade, apart from the equestrian business and the established commercial business, I have come across GAA clubs that are central to local communities and which are almost the representatives of this country in a foreign land. There is a need for us to do more with the diaspora, to include its members in everything and to build a new approach to doing trade and using links that would establish trade abroad.

We are a small country within Europe and the European Union should be taking far greater steps in regard to the more difficult countries with which we want to deal. The European Union can front-up the relationship and within that relationship we can deal with countries such as Taiwan. I make that case because I have seen the benefits of it directly, as have many Members of this House. I encourage the Minister to examine the potential in regard to the European approach to that trade.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss the importance of trade to the economy and our economic development. We are happy to support the motion. It recognises Ireland’s performance in the area of trade and investment, but it also recognises the challenges that international developments pose for us, as the previous speakers have identified. As part of my role, I have been tasked with driving employment growth and investment in Ireland, especially outside the greater Dublin area, with expanding our agency presence abroad - previous speakers have spoken about the importance of that, which I recognise, and of the work with our embassies - and with ensuring Ireland is business ready for Brexit. I will be working with the agencies such as IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to ensure Irish enterprises are Brexit ready and prepared to face all the challenges and the opportunities with regard to Brexit, and that we continue to have a strong foreign direct investment offering for businesses seeking to locate here. I also intend to take an active role, as requested by the Taoiseach, in regard to our programme of trade missions.

We should reflect on the outstanding successes to date of our trade policy, which are very evident. Exports are at a record high. The value of total exports from Ireland has increased by more than a third, from €175 billion in 2011 to an estimated €240 billion this year, an important success story for all our citizens. Foreign direct investment is also at a record high. IDA Ireland companies created almost 19,000 new jobs in 2016 across a range of sectors, and importantly, every region of Ireland benefited. Overall, unemployment, as we all know, is now down to 6.4%, the lowest level since October 2008.

In March of this year, the Government launched Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World. This is a whole-of-government strategy, which sets out very ambitious targets for Ireland's exports, foreign direct investment, tourism and international education. The strategy outlines our response to the current highly dynamic global environment and how we will meet these challenges.

We aim to increase our indigenous exports by Enterprise Ireland supported companies, including food, to reach €26 billion by 2020. It is an ambitious target. Over the same period we aim to secure 900 new foreign direct investments. We know the impact that every foreign direct investment we get has on each and every community. We will support geographic market diversification so that Irish-owned exports to non-UK markets increase by 50% - going out and seeking new markets is very important - while maintaining our exports of at least €7.5 billion to the UK. Our targets represent a clear statement of purpose. I have already met representatives of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to discuss these targets and the progress that is being made towards meeting them. All of this reaffirms that we are outward-looking country, strongly committed to international trade and the highest regulatory standards, which is also a very important element.

The motion refers to the challenges and I want to make a few points about those also. In recent years, we have all become aware of the potential dangers of disruptive technological, geopolitical and financial forces that could have implications for the Irish economy. Most obviously, Brexit and the potential policy changes under the US Administration - we have to wait and see how they play out over the next few months - may be threats to our future growth path in such an interconnected world.

We are dealing with an array of other challenges and opportunities also. The digitisation of trade is revolutionising how people access and pay for goods and services, and how companies reach markets. There is an area where there is a good deal of work to be done with Irish companies. We see in the manufacturing sector and in other areas the need to deal with these new opportunities. New technologies are disrupting industry norms but they are also enabling huge transformational change and opening up new economic sectors. Increasingly, free movement of people, information, materials and finance across borders mean that global value chains are becoming ever more interlinked and global competition, as result, has intensified. That creates new trading patterns and drives companies to become continually more innovative and competitive. Supporting innovation in all of our companies is very important. That is why we have been putting more and more money into research and development, as our companies have to maximise the opportunities that are presenting now.

One of the keys to our success is our commitment to trade liberalisation in order to open new markets for our indigenous sectors. Our membership of the EU is absolutely critical and the Government has been very clear on that in the context of Brexit. Our commitment to the EU international trade agenda is steadfast. With a small domestic market, expansion to other markets is a prerequisite for economic growth. Membership of the EU has not only given us access to 27 markets within the Single Market, but also access to 53 global markets through the EU free trade agreements. The EU trade agreement and agenda is moving swiftly ahead. There are currently 20 trade deals at different stages of negotiation. Deputy McGuinness commented on the importance of this area. At present, the EU is implementing six new generation free trade agreements with Korea, Central America, Columbia and Peru, Ecuador, Georgia and Moldova, and Ukraine. It is also implementing a further seven economic partnership agreements with countries of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of states. People have different views on this but I welcome the progress of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, which the European Parliament approved in plenary on 15 February and which had already been approved by the European Parliament environmental committee and by the International Trade Committee, from which Ireland should begin to immediately benefit in the coming months.

My colleague, the Minister of State with responsibility for training and skills, will speak further regarding CETA later, but I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that the Oireachtas will be part of the final decision, as necessary, on ratification in due course.

EU trade policy is not only about creating new economic opportunities, however, and it is important to say this. It is grounded in broader European values such as promoting ambitious climate change mitigation, protecting the environment, guaranteeing food safety and security, as well as the protection and promotion of labour rights. In line with the EU’s global strategy, the EU’s trade policy is consistent with its wider foreign policy objectives to pursue a policy that benefits society as a whole and promotes European and human rights standards and values alongside our core economic interests. In a debate such as this, it is very important to make that point.

Ireland works actively and closely with the European Commission and other institutions in the negotiation of these trade agreements. My Department is responsible for formulating, prioritising and advocating national policy positions on international trade and investment agreements and trade liberalisation initiatives. We also work intensively at multilateral level in the World Trade Organization to ensure there is an open and fair global trading system for all, including for less developed countries.

My commitment as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is to ensure Ireland continues to turn outwards, which is very important in the context of the kind of world which we have been talking about in this debate, to trade more into Europe and across the world, intensifying our work in existing markets, diversifying into new ones, working with our embassies, the diaspora and all those tremendous Irish groups which we see across the globe, and connecting in and forming partnerships with them as well as the more traditional type of work that we have done. The goal is to deliver real results for Irish business, our country and our people.

I thank Deputy Niall Collins for the opportunity to come to the House to discuss the importance of trade for the Irish economy, to make very clear and unequivocal statements about the approach of the Irish Government to trade policy and the central importance of trade. It also gives me the opportunity to reaffirm the Government’s consistent policy of and absolute commitment to fostering investment, growing jobs, supporting our indigenous companies and our exporters and making sure there is further foreign direct investment. Our response to Brexit is to support firms expanding in existing markets and also to break into new ones. We must have trade deals to open up new markets, otherwise talk of diversification is just that: talk.

I will share my time with Deputy Martin Kenny. Before I start, I wish both the Minister and the Minister of State well in their new jobs. I met the Minister, Deputy Fitzgerald, at the Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation recently, but we were so efficient and so quick that I did not have a chance to congratulate her on that occasion. I also wish the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, well in his role. I worked with him during the last year and I hope we can work constructively together again.

The Deputy needs to move his amendment.

I move amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:


—the contribution small and medium-sized enterprises make to the Irish economy, employing over 919,985 people around the country;

—the importance foreign direct investment provides to the Irish economy;

—the success of the Industrial Development Authority, IDA., Ireland in attracting multinational companies to Ireland and in supporting 199,877 jobs here in 2016;

—the results of InterTradeIreland’s quarterly Business Monitor survey showing that in quarter one of 2017 98 per cent of firms have not made plans to deal with Brexit;

—that the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, CETA, is part of the so-called new generation of free trade agreements, along with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, the Trade in Services Agreement, TiSA, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, that move far beyond the lowering of tariffs and aim primarily to remove ‘non-tariff barriers to trade’ by reaching regulatory coherence or harmonisation between parties;

—that the legal opinion of a senior counsel has pointed out that Irish ratification of a free trade agreement, that includes an Investor-State Dispute Settlement, ISDS, or Investment Court System, ICS), would:

—possibly infringe Article 15.2.1 of the Constitution of Ireland, which vests the sole power to make law in the Oireachtas;

—certainly infringe Article 34.1 of the Constitution of Ireland, which vests the power to dispense justice in the Irish domestic courts; and

—certainly infringe Article 34.3.2 of the Constitution of Ireland which makes the High Court, and appellate courts above it, the sole court in which a law may be questioned; and

—the ongoing European Union, EU, proposals to introduce greater harmonisation of corporation tax systems across the EU;


—the threat that Brexit poses for trade on the island of Ireland;

—the extensive trade links between Northern Ireland and Ireland, with trade in goods valued at €1.65 billion, South to North, and €1.05 billion, North to South, in 2016;

—the decision of the electorate in Northern Ireland who voted to remain in the EU;

—the need for a special status designation for Northern Ireland, to protect jobs and trade across the island of Ireland;

—that free trade agreements ratified by Ireland must have the interests of citizens and workers at their core;

—that free trade agreements ratified by Ireland must not benefit large multinational corporations at the expense of indigenous businesses;

—that a comprehensive academic study, published in September 2016 by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, demonstrates that CETA will cause, inter alia, 200,000 job losses in the EU by 2023, significant wage compression, a decline in the labour share of income, a net loss of governments’ revenue, and net losses in gross domestic product of signature parties;

—that the Irish beef farming sector is particularly vulnerable to the effects of CETA including an influx of 50,000 tonnes of Canadian beef and 75,000 tonnes of pork entering the EU market, the impact of this influx on Irish beef producers will be exacerbated as a result of the Brexit vote due to the fact that Britain has been the largest importer of Canadian agri-produce and there has been no revision of quotas in response to the Brexit vote;

—that pursuant to Articles 34.2 and 34.3.2 of the Constitution of Ireland, a referendum of Irish citizens to change the Constitution of Ireland in relation to the subjection of the Irish State to an ICS is legally required; and

—that Seanad Éireann has voted to reject the provisional application of CETA, and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions as well as Irish environmental, public health, food safety and consumer rights organisations have called for the rejection of CETA and TTIP; and

calls for:

—a special status designation for Northern Ireland to protect jobs and trade across Ireland;

—more funding to be made available to IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland to help increase the level of business preparation for Brexit;

—the Government to withdraw from the provisional application of CETA;

—the Government to uphold Article 29.5.2 of the Constitution of Ireland, which states that the terms of any international agreement involving a charge upon public funds must have been approved by Dáil Éireann;

—the Government not to ratify CETA or any free trade agreement which includes the subjection of the Irish State to an ICS or ISDS mechanism;

—the holding of a referendum of the Irish people, in accordance with the legal requirements of the Constitution of Ireland, Articles 34.1 and 34.3.2, in relation to the subjection of the Irish State to the ICS included in CETA; and

—the rejection of EU proposals which undermine Irish tax sovereignty.”

It is no surprise that we have a problem with the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, and Sinn Féin will not support this Fianna Fáil motion. We find the motion bizarre on a number of fronts. Deputy Niall Collins said that TTIP ran into the ground when President Trump was elected. Unfortunately for those in favour of TTIP, it was in trouble long before that. Last August, the German Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, described it as having failed but that no one would admit it yet. He also said that in 14 rounds of talks neither side had agreed on a single chapter of the 27 being debated. The motion seems to be cheerleading for CETA which is a similarly contentious deal being provisionally applied in Ireland without so much as a Dáil debate, still less a vote in a blatant affront to democratic norms. Does this Fianna Fáil motion endorse a position of preventing the Dáil from debating or voting on CETA? Do we have to wait until all the other countries have debated or voted on it?

This motion fails to mention the huge consistent contribution indigenous Irish SMEs also make to the Irish economy. It mentions the importance of trade across Ireland and the threat posed by Brexit but offers no solution on how to protect trade in the face of Brexit. We have tabled an amendment to this motion that recognises the equally important contribution of Irish companies to the Irish economy, that seeks a special status for the North to protect trade across the island, and that calls for the ending of the unjustified undemocratic provisional application of CETA.

Sinn Féin is supportive of the great work IDA Ireland does in attracting multinationals to Ireland. IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and local enterprise offices together provide much of the support businesses in Ireland need to meet new and changing economic and political challenges. IDA Ireland supported multinationals employed 199,877 people across Ireland in 2016 and contributed heavily to the economy through corporate tax returns, wages and spending in the local economy. We want to see this trend continue and grow, and we will support measures that help achieve this.

Our amendment calls for more funding to be provided to the key agencies involved in supporting jobs throughout the country, namely, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradelreland. InterTradelreland is tasked with assisting businesses engaged in cross-Border trade. While its work is vital in this post-Brexit era, I am concerned it is not receiving the resources it deserves and needs. Documents obtained by me under a freedom of information request outline that the then Minister was aware that “InterTradelreland already operates on a very tight budget, and given the cuts imposed, they are just about able to carry out their legislative remit”. This quote was taken from a briefing document for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in September 2016, four months after the Brexit vote. This is not an acceptable description of an agency with major responsibilities for assisting SMEs with their preparation for Brexit.

lnterTradelreland’s quarterly business monitor survey showing that in the first quarter of 2017, 98% of firms have not made plans to deal with Brexit. This compares with 97% that said they were unprepared in the third quarter of 2016, so in fact the level of preparedness has actually grown worse in the interim. That is why we have included a call for more resources to be made available to InterTradeIreland, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.

Brexit will pose significant challenges to trade on this island. A recently published report from InterTradeIreland and the ESRI shows that cross-Border trade in goods was valued at €2.7 billion in 2016. The same report highlights the scale and complexity of this trade, outlining that 1,933 product categories are exported from the South to the North and 2,269 products are exported from the North to the South. If the North is forced to quit the EU, these trade links will be severely disrupted and depleted, and a customs and tariffs border will reappear on this island. Talk of a frictionless Border is total rubbish. There can never be a seamless Border with either side subject to totally different regulatory regimes. The Taoiseach’s remarks in Downing Street yesterday that he wanted to see an invisible Border missed the whole point. We cannot have a Border of any type. This narrative is designed to deflect debate away from this area just long enough until it is too late. That is why we are calling for a special status designation now for the North in the Brexit negotiations. I urge Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael also to take this position for the good of the whole island of Ireland. As we saw with both parties turning their attention to the question of Irish unity lately when it suited them equally, both could now endorse the position of a special status designation for the North.

Free trade agreements ratified by Ireland must have the interests of citizens and workers at their core and also not benefit large multinational corporations at the expense of indigenous businesses. Sinn Féin has no problem with Ireland entering into free trade agreements, when they are just that - a free trade agreement. However CETA and TTIP are a new generation of deals that move far beyond the lowering or abolition of tariffs and aim primarily to remove non-tariff barriers to trade by reaching regulatory coherence or harmonisation between parties. We have serious concerns about the negative aspects CETA will have on Ireland.

At the fore of these is the inclusion of the investor court system, which will allow Canada-based corporations the right to sue national governments in Europe for compensation for the loss of expected future profits in response to government actions that impact on the companies' activities. Sinn Féin has received legal advice that the inclusion of this system is not compatible with Bunreacht na hÉireann, which is probably one reason our various requests to debate CETA in this Chamber have been refused. CETA will further distort trade and wealth in favour of large multinational corporations at the expense of indigenous Irish industry. Small and medium-sized Irish enterprises will be severely disadvantaged. The beef quotas included in this agreement will have a detrimental effect on the Irish beef industry. Canada has been approved to supply the EU with 50,000 tonnes of beef, which equates to hundreds of thousands of head of cattle. Irish beef prices will only go one way, and that is down. A comprehensive academic study published in September 2016 by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University demonstrates that CETA will cause, inter alia, 200,000 job losses in the EU by 2023, significant wage compression, a decline in the labour share of income, a net loss of governments' revenue and net losses in GDP of signature parties. This is not something Ireland should be proud of or endorse. These flaws need to be debated and action taken to avoid seriously negative consequences for workers, farmers and small businesses across Ireland.

I am not sure why Fianna Fáil is using its valuable Dáil time to talk about TTIP, a deal which has effectively been dead since the new US President took over. Protecting and growing trade across Ireland benefits everyone, not just members of particular parties. Tonight, Sinn Féin tabled an amendment which would see the Dáil adopt a position of negotiating for a special status for the North, a constructive proposal into which I urge all parties to buy. I suggest Fianna Fáil should put more effort into its motions to bring forward actual solutions to current problems rather than putting a redundant trade deal up for discussion. The Minister said we will debate CETA in the Chamber and I would appreciate it if she could give us an answer as to when we might have that debate.

The main issue in the motion tabled by Fianna Fáil is trade deals, specifically CETA and TTIP. We have some difficulty in understanding why we are going down this road. I can only conclude it is because Fianna Fáil believes this will be the solution to the Irish economic problems. It is the wrong track to take. I think most people understand that we need trade. We are a small country with a small population and it is hard to have enough economic activity on the island of Ireland with the population it has to make it sustainable. However, we need to export. Having free trade deals is always a good thing but the difficulty we have, particularly with CETA and TTIP and these sets of negotiations that are coming about, is that they are not for the good of free trade, the small producer, the small manufacturer or the small processor in areas of rural Ireland or any other such places. They are for the good of massive corporations and multinational companies. That is generally the trend in which all of this is moving.

In fairness to Fianna Fáil, the motion sets out a lot about IDA Ireland and the good work it has done. IDA Ireland certainly has done excellent work and excellent work has been done in many sectors to develop our economy. However, IDA Ireland's work has not worked everywhere. That is a difficulty we have. In the part of the world from which I come, we have little or no IDA Ireland investment and little or no support for small to medium-sized industry. The big problem we have in the regions, outside of the east coast, is that we have such poor infrastructure. When we consider the issue of broadband, which comes up every time we have a discussion about the economy, jobs and so on, we see that in the vast majority of Ireland outside the capital, we have a poor level of connectivity. While various schemes have been introduced through the years, nothing has provided for improved connectivity.

The other issue that often comes to mind is that of road infrastructure. Many Deputies in this House have been lobbying on this issue, particularly regarding the roads into the west of Ireland such as the N4, N5 and others. Our roads infrastructure has been left without the kind of investment it requires to be able to attract businesses and people to come and develop industry there. I was recently speaking to representatives of a company who were thinking about locating in Ireland. I was trying to talk them into coming to the west, to Leitrim, but when they visited and looked at the area, the problem they had was not so much that it was far from the port but that it was such a time distance from the port. That was the issue they raised. They would be exporting their product across the water to Britain.

The issues are the roads infrastructure, broadband infrastructure, the development of our health and education services, and making Ireland an attractive place for people to come to live and work. All the talk about trade deals, this high wire act and the idea that we need to do all this are almost distractions from the real issues we must deal with, namely, investment. That investment must come into the communities up and down the length and breadth of the country where people's children are emigrating. That is what we need to see happen. Emigration is continuing right up until now.

Support for small Irish businesses is one of the big problems we have. We have some small success stories. I hope the Minister in the time ahead will be able to visit the Food Hub in Drumshanbo, County Leitrim, which has been a huge success story. It is seeking more funding to try to expand and grow the businesses there. They are small businesses whereby local people who develop ideas set out to develop those ideas. They have an infrastructure in place whereby they can do this and expand and grow their business. This is the kind of thing we need to do and replicate in many places around the country. We need to build hubs not just for the food industry, but also other industries. We can do this outside of the capital, outside of where the infrastructure is in place at present, provided we invest in it but the Government has a responsibility to invest in all of this.

The other issue to which I will revert briefly is the trade deals. Ireland signed up in 2015 to the sustainable development goals, which were put in place by the United Nations. These goals concerned climate change, human rights and everything else we want to ensure the world stands up to. One issue in this regard that has been raised several times is that many of these trade deals fly in the face of the sustainable development goals because the trade deals are for the good of the corporations, not the people, whether they be in Ireland or in developing countries around the world. Therefore, one of the conditions we should attach to any of these trade deals we have anywhere in the world, whether between the EU, between Ireland bilaterally or wherever, is that they should be measured against their impact on the sustainable development goals. There are 17 goals, dealing with all aspects of life on the planet. This would be a very good measure to see where we can go forward from here.

The other issue we must consider in this regard is Brexit and what it will do. My constituency encompasses Sligo, Leitrim, west Cavan and south Donegal. The boundary of my constituency runs from Belturbet in County Cavan around to Pettigo in Donegal. It forms almost a quarter of the entire Border. I believe that for many years, only three Border roads were open and there were checkpoints on all of them. The rest of them were closed and barricaded up. We do not want to go back to that situation again. It is internationally recognised that people who live in border corridors, whether in Ireland or anywhere else in the world, have the highest potential for disadvantage because of the closing of communities, the division of people. We have come a long distance but we are not very far away from where we were, and if we are to ensure we do not go back to that situation, we must ensure that Britain remains within the customs union. That must be the demand. We must ensure that the North of Ireland gets special designated status within the European Union. That must be the demand of this Government and of all parties in this House. In fairness, there was a motion passed here which was supported by everyone in this House to seek special designated status for the North. The majority of the people in the North voted to stay within the European Union and we should respect that vote. We need to be as strong as we possibly can on this because there is an opportunity, as an island, for Ireland to attract investment internationally. However, we can only do that if we are seen by the world as an attractive place in which to invest. One thing that would set us apart is if we were to bring about a situation whereby, on a stepping stone towards a united Ireland, we were to have the entire island remain within the European Union. That is the challenge that lies ahead of us, and that is the way we need to move forward.

Finally, I congratulate both Ministers on their appointments and wish them all the very best in the months and perhaps years ahead. We do not know how long it will be but, whatever time remains ahead, I assure them that we will all try to be constructive to try to make things happen for our communities. The jobs and enterprise brief is the one on which we can deliver for people, and we all need to work together to make sure we deliver on that.

This motion is useful insofar as it should dispel any notion that there is any difference of consequence between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael when it comes to being cheerleaders of the neoliberal agenda. The motion starts with a partial account of the turn taken in industrial policy under the reign of Seán Lemass. I remind Fianna Fáil Deputies that the original strategy of Lemass was not that we would end up decades later reliant on FDI to the extent we do; rather is was posited that by encouraging FDI, indigenous companies would benefit from being in closer proximity to the most advanced production techniques and somehow this would rub off and finally enable an indigenous capitalist take off that had eluded this country since the formation of the State. Even at the height of the previous boom, Ireland's indigenous manufacturing base was half the EU average.

That history has been rewritten to fit into the current situation in which we find ourselves. The lauding once again of the 12.5% headline corporation tax rate, which is supported by Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, typically fails to recognise the price we pay for such a low rate. This rate also applies to indigenous companies, including the banks. The effective rate remains considerably less than 12.5% thanks both to official write-offs but also bogus patent and royalty practices that some big name companies flagrantly exploit. A total of 70% of corporations in Ireland pay zero tax according to a reply to a parliamentary question provided by the previous Minister of Finance. Google paid 0.14% in tax between 2005 and 2011; Starbucks paid an incredible €45 in 2015.

In 2010, The New York Times estimated that almost a quarter of Irish GDP came from ghost multinational corporations, MNCs, declaring profits here to minimise their tax bills. Three of the top ten so-called Irish companies are multinationals re-domiciled here in a notorious form of tax avoidance known as tax inversion 31. However, it took the ludicrous 26% GDP growth figures for all of this to become headline news. Google has been booking 40% of its global revenues in Ireland; Microsoft, 25%; and Facebook, 50%. This is all supposedly the work of a supernaturally productive few thousand Irish staff. The third largest so-called Irish company, Eaton Corporation, declared profits of €19 million per Irish worker last year. This explains why multinationals pay 80% of corporation tax, and so in theory should account for 80% of so-called Irish profit, yet employ only one in ten workers.

This is a race we cannot ultimately win. Hungary’s corporation tax rate is 9% and other eastern European countries have rates as low as zero. How low do we go? There is a connection to our housing crisis, hospital waiting lists, overcrowded classrooms and school enrolment problems. Solidarity is completely opposed to the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, trade deal between the EU and Canada and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, between the EU and US. These deals will create a race to the bottom of the Atlantic in respect of workers’ rights, environmental and consumer protections, and they will function as a charter for corporate rights. The introduction of investor state dispute settlement, ISDS, even in a modified form, would give corporations the right to sue states that interfere with their so-called right to profit. The motion twice mentions support for these agreements once consumer protection, food, health, environment and labour standards remain untouched. That is a nonsense. These are the very criteria under which TTIP would permit multinationals from outside the EU to take a member state to an ISDS hearing. It is typical Fianna Fáil trying to be all things to all people.

I totally oppose the motion. While Brexit presents difficulties for us and will have a huge impact on us, the solution to these is not to rush to embrace CETA or TTIP or for us as a Parliament to tout those as a solution to the difficulties that Brexit poses. Thankfully, TTIP is probably dead but the EU has agreed to provisionally ratify CETA. A motion needs to be passed by the House for Ireland to agree to the provisional ratification but the agreement presents huge difficulties for us. Even if we reject the provisional ratification, the EU ratification will stay in place for three years. Irreparable damage could be done, therefore, during that period, even if we stood up for ourselves. The Seanad voted against the provisional ratification and, therefore, the Government should be aware of the views of parliamentarians in this regard.

Free trade agreements such as these do nothing for the benefit of ordinary citizens and workers in the countries in which they are imposed. There are many cases around the world of corporations pursuing governments for taking decisions in the interests of their citizens and public policy. We would have our hands tied if we decided to go down the road of adopting these agreements. We must oppose them.

The Government did not identify opt-outs for us in CETA. This, for example, will leave the education sector open to competition from MNCs that want to change Government policy to privatise the sector and educational institutions. Recently, the former Labour Party leader, Ruairí Quinn, formed an alliance with a multinational education provider to secure students for colleges across the country. It is a small step for the provider to seek to take over our institutions or to push for their privatisation. When CETA is ratified by the Canadian Parliament and is provisionally ratified here, it will abolish the current 8% tariff on lobsters imported into the EU, which will have a direct impact on small fishermen around our coast. That will impact on the price they can secure for their lobster. The Government's response is it is opening up the Canadian market to fish exports and, therefore, that will be okay but that will not benefit small fishermen in Donegal and around the coast who will experience a drop in prices because of imports from Canada. The US exported 800 tonnes of lobster to the EU over the past three years even with the tariff. The Canadian lobster exports will, therefore, become more attractive when no tariff is in place. These are examples of the impact CETA will have across the country.

The motion is wrong and misguided for that reason and it should not have been tabled. Fianna Fáil has tabled it, however, and many of its Members have been trumpeting away over the past while in the House about the need to adopt more public private partnerships. The agenda the party wants to pursue is to liberalise markets and to make it easier for predatory companies to benefit on the backs of ordinary citizens when it should protect them to ensure public services can be maintained and provided free in the public interest rather than being opened up to MNCs and forcing the State to adjust public policy to facilitate them and their profit taking.

That is all I want to say. This motion should be rejected. Indeed, if the Government puts forward an amendment, I will probably vote against that too because the Government is going hell for leather towards CETA in any event.

I wish to share time with Deputy Danny Healy-Rae.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Do not tell Deputy Brassil that.

Never mind Deputy Brassil. I am confused, a Cheann Comhairle. There was ruaile buaile here this morning to debate certain matters. Then the Business Committee was summoned and I missed other meetings because I gave an hour to the Business Committee. We agreed a motion for debate about appointments to the Court of Appeal. I then come in here to find it is a different motion altogether. I thought I needed glasses. What happened from the time I left the Business Committee meeting up to the time I came here to debate this motion?

The Deputy was at the meeting.

I was at it. We left it, agreed that Fianna Fáil would be given time to debate a motion about the-----

Will we try to stick to the motion before us?

Yes, but I am confused. It is like a spinning top. They do not know whether they are on it or when to get off it. This is crazy. I do not know what it is up with them. I know they are sulking because they cannot get to appoint judges but this beats all. It is a pure mystery. What is the point in wasting Dáil time, wasting 30 minutes on the Order of Business, wasting an hour at the Business Committee - 55 minutes to be exact - including the time of the Ceann Comhairle and the staff at an emergency meeting, and then coming back and getting cold feet between the meeting of the Business Committee and here? I do not know what is up with them but I would say that Seán Lemass is turning in his grave. Members talked about him tonight and I salute Seán Lemass and his ideals. Those in Fianna Fáil have lost their way, quite frankly, and I do not know how they are going to get it back. They will have to get a compass, or find their moral compass somewhere.

It is all downhill.

I do not know what it is, uphill or downhill. They are running up the hill every week on the radio, saying, "We are going to call an election", and they go back down the same side again. If they keep running up all the time, they will fall down on everything.

This is a filibuster.

It is not a filibuster. They are the laughing matter, not me.

It is the wrong speech.

It is not the wrong speech. I never have speeches. The speech I wanted to make tonight is on an issue that they fought to make time for today, and on which we had a Business Committee meeting-----

Deputy, you will have to direct your speech to the motion, which is on foreign direct investment. Kindly restrain yourself.

It is making a farce of the Dáil and the Business Committee, nothing short of that. They complained they did not have enough time. They have too much time because they have become time wasters in the extreme.

I will address the motion. Seán Lemass was mentioned and rightly so. We have benefited from the EU and from foreign direct investment. I am very proud Clonmel has nearly 4,000 FDI jobs from the shores of America. We must support and maintain those jobs but also the spin-off that comes from them. Apart from the investment in plant, jobs and the social economy, there is also the service industry and all that comes from that. Nonetheless, I have question marks around TTIP and globalisation, not to mention some of our own flagship businesses. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae might not be too happy with me but while Kerry Group, Glanbia and others have great names, all is not well in those organisations either, and I have proof of that. It is said one has to marry the organisation if one wants to work with them. It is the same with this coalition. They were married but the divorce proceedings, I think, are under way.

This is Fianna Fáil's Private Members' time and its motion. We have to support foreign direct investment. I do not agree with Deputy Barry's figures which suggest companies pay no tax. I support the 12.5% rate but I want it applied rigorously so they will not get away with undermining or evading that. There is this myth about the Apple tax, namely, that the Apple harvest is coming and anyone would think we are going to shake every tree. According to those on the hard left, Ireland will be a rich country after that harvest. As I keep saying, they are gone so hard now, they cannot even feel themselves - that is the fact of the matter. They have an answer to everything. There will be manna from heaven, but they do not believe in heaven either, so I do not know where they think the manna is going to come from. That is the way they are and the way they will be. I will not change them here.

I support aspects of this motion. I could not support it all because I have some concerns. That is how we have ended up with Brexit in that people are not being listened to on the bigger scale in Europe. Thankfully, Prime Minister May made a running jump for the country and look where it got her. It became June and she does not know what has happened. Pardon the pun with the months. It has put manners on the new incumbent in office here, and he will not be running to the country in a hurry. The boys will not run up the hill and they will definitely not push him over the top of the hill because they cannot seem to get the right gear.

As I said, there are aspects of TTIP and other world trade agreements I do not agree with. The conglomerates are not being fair to the ordinary producers, small farmers and working people. I am all for workers' rights - do not get me wrong. I am not like those on the hard left but I am all for workers' rights. There should be a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, and all those issues, but I do not support them when they decided to bring in Bills lately to introduce trade union rights and call trade union meetings in the middle of the day. I come from the self-employed sector and I understand how difficult it is for self-employed people to work - at least, I think I do. Too many rules and regulations and too many big agreements are not good because there is too much collateral damage.

Deputy Pringle mentioned the fishing industry, which is being wiped out. What is going on in west Cork regarding the commercial harvesting of kelp? We cannot stand in the way, however, because we are only little people with small say. That was not the concept of which Lemass had a vision. Those were not the ideals he or his party, of which my father was a founding member, supported. All big and powerful is not good, which we know. We see that with the HSE, which is a massive organisation but which cannot provide basic procedures.

I thank Fianna Fáil for giving us the opportunity to discuss Brexit and the negative impact it will have, especially on small businesses, farmers and fishermen. Small business people who have come through the recession are already very concerned with the reduction in the value of sterling. It means their income is short by 10% or 12% currently and they are worried that if this continues indefinitely, it will blow them out of existence for all time.

To that end, many of them are concerned by all the talk about Northern Ireland. While all of us, myself included, support a soft Border, they are very concerned that as this goes on, Northern Ireland will benefit as it will have lower costs and goods will be cheaper there, and the reduction in the value of sterling will create a mass exodus over the Border and deprive southern companies of the income they enjoyed heretofore. In that regard, they are asking whether we should be pushing this. While it is fine to support special exemptions for the North of Ireland, we need to look for certain things as well. They are asking is it possible that Northern Ireland should be asked to join the euro so we would have a level paying pitch. I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense. We need to explore that because if the value of sterling stays low for many years, it will ruin all of the southern Ireland and small business and farmers will suffer.

Fishermen are at a crossroads in Kerry and south-west Cork. Something must be done to address the anomalies of the quotas, particularly the mackerel quota. It is not fair how it is meted out, with one side of the country getting 87% of the quota and the rest of the country getting just 13%. That matter needs to be addressed.

We are at a crossroads. IBEC has told us that rural areas are going to suffer. If we can imagine rural areas are going to suffer more than they have already, it is going to be terrible. Many parts of rural Ireland have been decimated.

It is fine up here in Dublin and it is said that urban areas will prosper further. We need to do something to address the imbalance as we see it from our side of the world.

I appreciate the opportunity this evening that Fianna Fáil has presented, even though it was in jeopardy earlier today. I welcome the chance to discuss this vital issue for our country on trade and foreign direct investment and our relationship to trade deals such as TTIP and CETA, which have been progressed and are under negotiation. In the case of CETA, it is going through a process of ratification. I also welcome the debate because in some ways it is very interesting as it allows us to get a clear sense of the differences that exist in the House. I fundamentally disagree with Fianna Fáil's motion. We have presented our amendment, which is fairly extensive in setting out some of the concerns we have. I want to reflect on several of them now, which is what the debate allows us to do.

It is interesting the Fianna Fáil motion starts with a reference to Seán Lemass. We would all look back and state the country has undoubtedly benefited tremendously from the opening up to trade and foreign direct investment that occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and from so much that came with it, including membership of the European Union, investment in education and our incredible success as a country for the past 50 years. An honest assessment is we have had remarkable achievements on the path we have taken by being a centre for international trade and business.

Anyone would also look and see that there is a point now where we have to reduce our reliance on foreign direct investment. My experience over a number of decades is that each of the reports we have commissioned to look at enterprise strategy, going right back to the Telesis report in the late 1980s, the Culliton report in the early 1990s and the enterprise strategy group in the early 2000, all had a common point to make, with which I agree and reiterate, that we need to start to developing our own trade and enterprise and not be so exposed to dependency on large foreign direct investment.

I am a member of the Committee on Budgetary Oversight. Today, we have seen stark warnings from the Fiscal Advisory Council as to our exposure to a fall in our corporate tax base if we lost some of the big foreign direct investment companies. Last week, the Department of Finance and Trade acknowledged that five companies account for 37% of our exports. This is overreliance, an exposure and a risk from which we have to steer away. It is also appropriate, and we are right as a country, to stand on our own two feet, to develop our own enterprises and to develop a stronger and a more stable local economy through such a strategy. This is the first fundamental difference I have with the Fianna Fáil approach, which does not seem to me to recognise the importance of balancing out and spreading the basis of our economy.

I will speak very specifically on the issue of TTIP and CETA, which are referred to in the Fianna Fáil motion as it seeks the support of the House and the endorsement of what it calls the ambitious CETA agreement to open new markets and grow Irish jobs. The environmental movement, and many of the social and labour movements, have deep concerns that CETA, and TTIP should it follow a similar pattern, would prove a real risk to Irish jobs and to working standards and the environmental standards we have seen put in place over recent decades, particularly by the European Union. The lack of support and the lack of attention to the precautionary principle in CETA raises concerns in the environmental movement that the acceptance of CETA is a retrograde step, which will undermine much of what we hold dear with regard to food standards, accepting GMO products, beef grown with steroids and other mechanisms we do not accept here.

With regard to CETA and TTIP, many NGOs have concentrated on the introduction of a dispute resolution mechanism, whereby companies are able to take countries to court and are given real powers to be able to ensure fines or overcome the powers of this Legislature and step around the powers of our courts. This is a step too far. We are not opposed to trade agreements per se. In the big challenge we face in moving towards a more sustainable economy, we will do it best not when we retreat to the nationalist strategies that we see the American and British Governments now pursuing, but when we work hand in hand with other countries in every part of the world and seek agreement on trade rules. Our concern is the model that CETA and TTIP are following is an old, out of date model where the concept of the market knows best, greed is good and corporations are the key agents to deliver change. Business and corporations have a role. They have a place, but they are not in charge. I fear that in the dispute resolution mechanism CETA enshrines, and that TTIP also seems to wish to bring in, we are ceding power and sovereignty to corporations. I am surprised Fianna Fáil, the republican party mar dhea, is taking such a step and stating we are not a republic of equals, but a republic of equals where corporations can have judicial oversight above the State and the courts. That is not an intelligent development. It would not necessarily deliver fair trade agreement. It is on this basis we must oppose the proposal that is before us.

We have a real difficulty now because we are facing a neighbour on the one side, Britain, which seems to be looking to abandon any rules or co-operation in terms of standards that exist in the European Union. Its proposal to refuse to recognise the European Court of Justice and the regulatory standards that it brings in is a real concern. Similarly, the United States and the election of its President and his Administration, which is openly engaged in a retreat to nationalist protectionist mercantile economic thinking, is something we have to confront and challenge and we cannot accept.

TTIP clearly will not be negotiated with the US Government, which is basically undermining all international co-operation by not accepting the Paris agreement, so TTIP is dead. The real question is with CETA and why the House would agree to it. Although Canada is obviously a smaller trading partner for Ireland, it is not insignificant. It is a near neighbour and tens of thousands of young Irish people are living in Canada. We have very good relations with Canada, but I do not believe it should extend to accepting CETA. We should look for a different form of trade deal, one which absolutely copperfastens the sovereignty of the nation against the corporation and one that absolutely guarantees the environmental standards that everyone says they want to protect. From our perspective, the wording of the agreements do not give the protection we seek. We have to do the same to try to achieve social standards and basically move towards a race to the top rather than the race to the bottom we have seen in economic trade deals over the past 30 or 40 years.

We are at a turning point and a change point in our world. I am old enough to remember the last one, which occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We moved from some of the chaotic freedoms of the 1970s to this world, where it was said freedom of the market would achieve our needs. That became no longer credible in 2008. Fianna Fáil does not seem to have learned the lesson of this, that we are moving into a different world order where the market is balanced by social and environmental rules. That is not enshrined in the CETA or TTIP agreements. We cannot agree with motion on this basis.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on the motion and I thank Deputy Niall Collins for tabling it. When we listen to what is said in the debate that often transpires in the House with regard to foreign direct investment and where Ireland has positioned itself in the global context, and we are an open global trading economy and interdependent on the world and it on us in terms of trade, it is critical that we maintain this outward looking view of the world in terms of our policies. This is why it is critical from time to time to assess and acknowledge the importance of foreign direct investment in the overall context of the economy.

Needless to say, foreign direct investment cannot be viewed in isolation. For example, in the area of medical devices and software, many of the smaller companies were embryonic spin-offs of multinationals that established here initially and gave Ireland a critical mass in key areas of those new economies. At times, we are a little disingenuous about the importance of foreign direct investment not only in its direct role, but also in establishing embryonic industries and supporting the industries underpinning many of the multinationals. It is very significant to the Irish economy.

Of course, foreign direct investment is here for a number of reasons. Undoubtedly, it is here for the corporation tax, and we must remain competitive in that context. It is also here because of the skilled, flexible workforce, the fact that we speak English, the independent Judiciary and because we uphold the rule of law. Ireland is also a bridge between the United States and Europe. All of these are critical components in ensuring that foreign direct investment looks on Ireland in a positive light. Some from the left philosophy and ideology glibly comment as if foreign direct investment would be here if their policies were in place. They say foreign direct investors do not pay enough tax, that they are not contributing enough and that if they were in government they would take far more tax from them. However, if they were in government the investors would not be here at all, so they would be taxing companies that would no longer reside in Ireland. It is important to put that in context. Sometimes in this debate the left pockets all the good that comes from foreign direct investment, yet spends the imaginary profits that would be there if it was in government. It is important to make that point.

Deputy Mick Barry, my constituency colleague, consistently undermines the importance of foreign direct investment. I suggest that he stand outside Apple in his constituency some day, where 6,000 people are directly employed, and hand out leaflets stating that Apple should not be here. He could also go to Schering Plough, Johnson & Johnson and the many other multinationals that are providing superb employment and huge spin-off employment in the broader economy of Cork alone. These are key issues.

Reference has been made to Brexit. I have examined the amendment to the motion proposed by Sinn Féin. There are many things in it that I could agree with, but there are also many items that are hypocritical. One example is the decision of the electorate in Northern Ireland who voted to remain within the EU. Of course, the people voted to remain in the EU. However, citizens in the Republic voted to enter the EU in the early 1970s and Sinn Féin consistently opposed Ireland's entry into the EU and opposed every EU treaty subsequently. It was only during the last election, in the context of the referendum result in the North, that it became pro-European. That is a fact. The reason it is pro-European has nothing to do with the broader issue. It is about electoral advantage because, for a change, Sinn Féin accepted that the people in Northern Ireland with good sense would support remaining in Europe. Europe has been good to this island, North and South, the broader economy and the citizens who live on the island.

Another issue that has been mentioned is Ireland and its international obligations. CETA and TTIP are important. It is important to have international trade agreements. It is also important to have international resolutions for disputes. That refers back to my earlier comment on the independence of the Judiciary and the rule of law. These are critical for multinationals when they are choosing where to locate around that world. They must be confident that their investment can be protected in terms of copyright, research and development and its other aspects.

There has been glib commentary from the left about nationalisation, as if we could nationalise Dell, Apple, Johnson & Johnson and some pharmaceutical companies. This type of commentary beggars belief. Do they honestly think that multinationals would locate in this country if they thought for a moment that following that investment some left wing Minister would come knocking on the door to say they are taking over the concern and will make the computers, pharmaceutical products and so forth? It simply beggars belief. Do not undo the good work that has been done for many years by successive Administrations, although primarily Fianna Fáil Administrations, in attracting foreign direct investment and making this a place where international companies can locate and provide good jobs for our citizens, both North and South.

Like Deputy Kelleher, I welcome this debate in the House. First, I congratulate the Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Fitzgerald. She will be a good Minister for jobs and I will be inviting her to my part of the country. I also congratulate the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, on his re-appointment. He should continue his good work.

When one is a new Deputy in the House one sometimes wonders why some points of view are made. Everybody is entitled to their point of view, but I wonder if some Members on the left who have spoken so vehemently against the motion tell their voters who are working in some of the foreign direct investment companies-----

They are not voting for the left.

Quite a lot of them are. Do those Members give those people their opinions on foreign direct investment? Do those Members think of the catering company that created seven jobs because it has the contract in some of those foreign direct investment companies? Do they take the same attitude to the family shop that opened near the factory and in which the family is able to make a living? I do not believe they do.

Let us consider some of the figures. Foreign direct investment provides jobs for over 300,000 people in this country. It is interesting to consider IDA Ireland's comment that for every ten FDI jobs created, another seven are generated in the wider economy. Some 70% more jobs are created in addition to the initial jobs created. In 2016, Dublin was ranked third in the world for foreign direct investment. It beat Hong Kong into fourth place in taking that position. Dublin is ahead of New York, Paris, San Francisco, Beijing, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Dubai and Shanghai. In 2015, FDI here rose by 4% while it was falling by 9% in other parts of Europe. Software is the big attraction and many jobs are being created in that area.

Foreign direct investment comes to this country for a number of reasons. We have less red tape, a highly educated workforce, skilled sector exports, much investment in research and development and we are English speaking. Ireland is identified as the number one destination for US foreign direct investment in a 2014 report commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce. American companies have invested €240 billion in foreign direct investment in Ireland. I ask the Members who oppose this motion to pay attention. Some 130,000 people are employed here in US companies. Those companies have invested more than €277 billion in this country.

I partly agree with Deputy Martin Kenny that my part of the country has not received as much of that foreign direct investment as we would like. Where we had it, some of the companies fell apart-----

-----as in the case of Bank of America in Carrick-on-Shannon. It happened in other places as well. We must ensure that more of the FDI comes to the rural regions. That is something I will discuss with the Minister.

However, when discussing matters such as this we must recognise that Ireland is a tiny dot on the world map. We punch way above our weight with regard to FDI. We must compliment IDA Ireland. I also believe Fianna Fáil has an impeccable record with regard to attracting jobs through foreign direct investment over the years. I must give credit to the current Government for continuing that trend. It is important for employment levels in our economy that we protect this and the 12.5% tax rate. Without those jobs, many more people would have to emigrate and there would be far more poverty in our land.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to make this brief contribution and to support my colleagues. There is absolutely no reason for any Member of the House to oppose this motion.

I thank the Deputies for their contributions, which were worthwhile. I also thank them for offering their best wishes to the Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Fitzgerald, and me on our appointments.

It is vital to maintain our historical openness and trade in the face of changing circumstances in the international environment over the past year. If the increasing uncertainty and market swings created by Brexit and the growing protectionist atmosphere in many countries are to be effectively countered, it can only be beneficial to have free and fair trade both for Ireland and the rest of the world. In that context, we have concentrated our efforts on the implementation of the new-generation free-trade agreements, which are comprehensive in nature and break down the non-tariff barriers affecting our key exports.

Let me speak about the most recent of the trade deals that have been concluded and which the Government believes will bring significant benefits to this country, namely, the EU-Canada agreement. In February 2017, the European Parliament gave its consent to the provisional application of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement or, as it is commonly known, CETA. Provisional application is provided for in the EU free trade agreements. This means that those aspects in respect of which the EU has full competence may be applied immediately once the agreement comes into force. It is an important mechanism that allows companies and consumers to benefit at a practical level from a trade agreement at an early stage. Most important, this includes the reduction in tariffs on our exports. Over 99% of tariffs between the EU and Canada will eventually be removed. These are facts.

With CETA, Irish companies will receive the best treatment that Canada has offered any trading partner, thus levelling the playing field on the Canadian market for Irish and other EU companies. In May of this year, 25 Irish companies participated in an Enterprise Ireland trade mission to Canada in order to target the new opportunities arising from CETA. One of the main benefits will be the opening up of public procurement markets in the Canadian provinces, giving Irish firms increased access to Canadian public sector purchasing.

Ireland also gains unlimited tariff-free access for most of our important food exports, particularly opening up significant opportunities for the Irish dairy industry. Ireland successfully campaigned for strong protections for its beef industry through restrictive quotas for Canadian beef entering the EU. Ireland has always worked and will always work for a good outcome that respects our agriculture sector.

Irish firms will also benefit from the recognition of product standards and certification, thus saving on what is known as double testing on both sides of the Atlantic. This is of particular benefit to smaller companies for which paying twice for the same test can be prohibitive, as we all know. These are some of the tangible benefits of CETA in addition to providing new market opportunities in some sectors for Irish firms. Following Canada's internal procedures for ratification, we hope we can begin to apply CETA provisionally in the coming months.

The issues that have proved controversial in regard to the proposed investor court system will not form part of the provisional application. In order for the agreement to come fully into force, each member state and regional parliament must ratify it. There is no time limit to conclude this process. As the Minister, Deputy Fitzgerald, has said, the Oireachtas will be part of the decision on ratification, as necessary, in due course.

Some views have been expressed that the provisions relating to investment protection and the investment court system may give rise to a constitutional crisis. It is important to recall that any such court or tribunal would arbitrate on claims for damages or injury due to unfair or discriminatory treatment of a firm from one country by the actions of a government in another. There is no question of such a tribunal overruling Irish courts or overturning any legislation passed by the Oireachtas. We want to be quite clear about that. The Government has received competent and confident legal advice that confirms that the European Commission's proposal for an investment court system, which will effectively involve a dispute-resolution process, will not give rise to constitutional implications.

The EU-Japan agreement was mentioned. One of the most exciting recent developments is the strong process in respect of which the EU is engaged in finalising talks with Japan. There are hopes for a political agreement on a trade deal this year. Representatives from Enterprise Ireland and I have visited Japan. Together, the EU and Japan account for more than one third of the world's GDP. In addition to the agreement with Canada, an agreement with Japan would send a powerful and positive message on global trade and the importance of continuing to liberalise markets. The opportunities for Ireland would also be substantial. Ireland exports significant amounts of goods and services to Japan. These amounted to €6.6 billion in 2016. Japan is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Ireland from Asia. There are more than 50 Japanese companies with a presence in Ireland, 28 of which are IDA Ireland client companies, employing approximately 4,000 people.

The EU has restarted talks with what are known as Mercosur countries in South America, not to mention the ongoing negotiations to upgrade our trading relationships with Mexico, Chile, the Philippines, Indonesia, Turkey, Singapore and, of course, China. There are also plans to open negotiations with Australia and New Zealand in the coming months. In addition to having bilateral EU trade agreements, Ireland has benefited from sectoral agreements such as the international technological agreement and the expected conclusion of the agreement on environmental goods.

Let me touch very briefly on Brexit and the eurozone. Articulating our interests and exercising our influence at EU level are central to Ireland's success in engaging in negotiations, and will take on even greater prominence when the UK leaves the EU. Specifically on Brexit, the Government aims to preserve the fullest market access to the UK and the fullest requirements from the UK to uphold the obligation of market access. Under any future trade deal between the EU and UK, the Government will ensure we develop a robust evidence-base, comprehensively prepare for negotiations and deliver the best possible outcome for Ireland.

In my Department, we are prioritising our response to the effects of Brexit on Irish trade through an arrangement and agreement with Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and other stakeholders. For example, Enterprise Ireland will double the funding available to support clients to either enter or scale up their activities in the eurozone. This is under a range of existing programmes. These include mentoring programmes, market access grants, fair trade participation, the appointment of key eurozone managers, setting up local offices, business innovation supports and an enhanced programme of trade visits and trade events. Market study visits and onward buyer visits to key targeted eurozone countries and others will be undertaken shortly. Over 40 international Minister-led trade events have been planned for this year, with a particular focus on market diversification. Some 145 trade-promotion events are scheduled in Ireland and overseas this year. Over the past six months, many Ministers have been right across Europe and Asia to promote Ireland and its trade.

The Government has allocated €3 million of this year's budget to boost resources in State agencies to deal with the impact of Brexit. This will enable the recruitment of ten extra staff by IDA Ireland and an additional 39 staff by Enterprise Ireland for its in-market teams. New company supports and tools are also being made available, including a new digital marketing campaign, targeting buyers in key sectors and euroszone markets, and a Brexit SME scorecard for Irish companies to address their exposure to Brexit.

The overall objective is to assist Irish exporters to increase exports in the eurozone countries by 50% in 2020 to mitigate any barriers to Irish trade with the UK that may arise from Brexit. We believe this strategy will drive one of the most significant shifts to date in the footprint of Irish exports to the eurozone.

I am confident we in government are doing everything we can to respond strongly, in both the short term and the long term, to the impact of Brexit. I will be very brief on this. Some Deputies mentioned multinational companies and foreign direct investment, FDI. We should be very careful as we enter the next five, ten or 15 years in a very competitive worldwide economy and we have to do everything we possibly can. I completely agree with what has been said on the other side of the Chamber that we must make sure to bring as many FDI investors and multinational companies into Ireland who, right now as Brexit nears and even while the referendum was ongoing in England, showed and are showing confidence by investing in the Irish market and creating jobs. We would do well to remember that. We must think very carefully of what is happening right across Europe, particularly with regard to the 12.5% corporation tax rate, where there are some attempting to bring it down lower. It would be a disaster for us to touch the corporation tax.

Like other speakers, I congratulate the Tánaiste as well as the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, on their reappointments. I wish them the best of luck in their portfolios. Trade deals and foreign direct investment are vital for a small exporting country like ourselves. I was sitting in my office listening to the debate. Listening to some of the comments of the Deputies who oppose Deputy Collins's motion, to call them naive would probably be very kind. We need trade deals and foreign direct investment. As has been referred to, our corporation tax is vital to this country in attracting that foreign direct investment. It is under constant threat. The Trump Administration in the States and some of our European colleagues would like to undermine it and undercut it. It is essential we keep that corporation tax attractive to multinationals investing in our country. The huge challenge that Brexit is going to pose to us increases the need for us to do trade deals with other countries around the world. It increases the need for TTIP, CETA and the benefits this economy can accrue from them.

EU standards on food, health, environment and social and labour standards cannot be compromised, however. European food producers have to produce to an extremely high standard. The European consumer demands that and is entitled to it. The production of food at such a high standard comes at a cost. We cannot be put at an unfair advantage to other producers around the world. For a generation, we have been highlighting the difference between beef production in the EU and in South America, where there is hormone-treated beef. Our beef is produced hormone free and with the strict use of antibiotics. Those standards have to be maintained. It is essential in any trade deal that those are ring-fenced.

TTIP has great potential. It has the potential to create 10,000 jobs in this country and to increase exports by up to 4%. It is stalled at the moment, but it is to be hoped it can be got going in the future. On the agrifood side of things, there are huge benefits for the country in CETA. It would give 95% of our agrifood exports tariff-free access to the Canadian market. I will give a few statistics. At the moment, the Canadians and Americans have a tariff-free quota for 11,500 tonnes of top quality beef cuts into the EU. They are only using 3% of that quota. The consumption of Canadian beef in the EU is at 0.6%. This is an opportunity we can exploit going forward. The opportunities for dairying are immense. Post-quota production is rising rapidly in this country. Ornua is developing markets in the United States. CETA will allow it to do the same in Canada. If we are to get a reasonable price for our dairy products going forward, markets like this are going to be vital for us. I welcome the firm commitment from the European Commission and the 27 member states that EU standards are not up for negotiation and will be maintained, come what may.

A significant number of our young people have emigrated to Canada in recent years. Thankfully, two thirds of them have third level degrees. Annually, Canada issues 10,000 international experience visas. It just shows many of our young people are choosing Canada as a destination. We have a very strong trade relationship with Canada worth €2.75 billion per annum. It has increased by 250% in the past five years. For SMEs and for all industry in this country, this trade deal has great opportunities.

Before I conclude, I want to get parochial. Deputy Mattie McGrath spoke about what FDI has brought to Tipperary. Unfortunately, it has been localised in just one town. In the past four years, there have been only eight FDI visits to Tipperary with virtually no investment. North, mid and west Tipperary has been completely deprived of any foreign direct investment. Unfortunately, our towns are showing the signs of it. We have a site in Lisheen Mines that has the infrastructure and has huge potential. I implore the IDA to look at that site. It has massive potential and would be an ideal hub for development in Tipperary. It is something we badly need. It would restore our faith in the IDA's ability to create jobs.

It was remiss of me not to congratulate the Minister on her recent appointment and wish her well in it. It is a very important job and we have debated with her predecessor on many occasions, especially on the regional imbalance and the challenges that poses. I thank everyone who contributed to this debate. We placed this motion before the House to reaffirm my party's position of supporting business, jobs, enterprise, SMEs and foreign direct investment. It was our forefathers who pioneered the industrial policy, the undoubted benefits of which this country has reaped over the years right up to the present day. When a huge recession and depression hit this country in 2008, 2009 and 2010, we were able to rely on that FDI sector in particular, and the SME sector that has grown off the back of it, to help this country fight its way through that very difficult period. We make no apologies to anyone for saying we as a party are not ashamed to support a pro-jobs, pro-business, pro-enterprise, pro-FDI, pro-SME and pro-indigenous business policy. That has always been our brand and we are happy to reaffirm that.

I want to refer in particular to some of the comments of the left and the hard left and the arch-hypocritical approach of some of these speakers and parties to the notion of foreign direct investment and the jobs it supports. Foreign direct investment, if we are to believe some of what they say, is a danger to society and to our economy. Nothing is further from the truth. The comments of some of the Sinn Féin speakers and the Solidarity or AAA party, whatever they are calling themselves this week, and the sentiment they expressed can be summed up by saying they are anti-jobs, anti-enterprise and anti-business. They cannot be giving out a mixed signal.

They are either for free trade or they are against it. They say they want jobs and want to support SMEs, yet they are not in favour in free trade.

These organisations, businesses and employers rely on being able to trade with as few barriers to trade as possible. That is a fact. If the Sinn Féin Members talk to any of the businesses or SMEs in their constituencies, that is what they will hear. They cannot have it both ways. If we take CETA, for example, Deputy Quinlivan knows we discussed it at our committee and had a presentation on it. I remember asking the officials who were present what objections were registered by the lobby groups and representative groups on CETA. The record will stand for itself. As I recall, there were no objections registered by political parties, be it the hard left or the soft left, whatever they want to call themselves, or indeed by their representative organisations.

The positives relating to CETA speak for themselves. In respect of the farming organisations and the agricultural sector, including the beef, poultry, pigmeat and lamb sectors, the opening up of a huge market speaks for itself. Of course we must protect standards, including environment and employment standards. We will do that anyway as a sovereign State and sovereign Government. I hope the 20 trade agreements that are in the pipeline will be progressed as quickly as possible to play to our strengths because to say that they are wrong and a danger to our society confounds any logic.

There are challenges relating to IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. They need more resourcing and funding, particularly in the context of Brexit. The Minister will also be aware of the Succeed in Ireland initiative, which we have debated in this House on a number of occasions, and the role of ConnectIreland in respect of that. The Minister needs to ensure this review is completed as soon as possible. I would like to see that initiative kick-started as soon as possible.

Bearing in mind the context of this debate, it is not a case of either-or, that is, foreign direct investment or indigenous business. One can have both, as they are not mutually exclusive. They are actually mutually compatible and to come in here and state we are too reliant on foreign direct investment does not make any sense. The more we get of both, the better. We need to keep our corporation tax policy in mind. With the exception of some of the speakers from the hard left, we have all reaffirmed our position on the 12.5% rate. The Minister will recall that the Shannon free zone, which had a 0% rate of corporation tax, once existed in our part of the country. It was hugely successful at that point in time.

In conclusion, I note tonight was the first occasion when Members had a debate on CETA. It should come back to be ratified by Dáil Éireann and the sooner the better. It was also the first occasion - I am glad I sponsored it on behalf of Fianna Fáil - on which Members discussed the SME and foreign direct investment sectors and their enormous contribution to our economy and communities. We need more. I commend the motion to the House.

Amendment put.

In accordance with Standing Order 70(2), the division is postponed until the weekly division time on Thursday, 22 June 2017.

The Dáil adjourned at 9.55 p.m. until 12 noon on Wednesday, 21 June 2017.