EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy Brian Stanley on Wednesday, 10 July 2019:
That Dáil Éireann:
— that the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement negotiated by the European Commission is a bad deal for Ireland and for the planet;
— that the deal will see the importing of 99,000 tonnes of beef into the European Union (EU) per year, tariff free, which will devastate the Irish beef industry, while simultaneously doing severe climate damage;
— that South American beef has lower safety and consumer standards than our own indigenous beef and uses pesticides and chemicals which are not allowed within the EU, and that there are concerns about the traceability of this meat given the stringent farm to fork chain in Ireland;
— that the wider economic impact of damaging the farming industry will further accelerate the decline of rural Ireland through the closure of small businesses and the loss of local jobs;
— that it undermines our 2030 emission targets and the Government’s recently published Climate Action Plan by importing beef which takes four times the carbon footprint of Irish beef to produce, with additional emissions being created through transportation of the beef from South America to Europe; and
— the further undermining of climate action by accelerating the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest which is currently at its highest rate in a decade, where last year alone there was a 13 per cent increase in Amazon deforestation and just last month 739 square kilometers were destroyed, the equivalent to two football pitches every minute;
further notes that:
— the far-right President of Brazil has shown a complete disdain for human rights, environmental protection and the rule of law since his election;
— the Brazilian Government has failed to adequately demarcate land to indigenous communities and this has led to huge land grabs by agri-business, which is leading to a destruction of these indigenous communities, the environment, and the assassination of community leaders who resist, which will increase massively if the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement is ratified; and
— Brazil has seen a huge increase in attacks on and the murder of indigenous community leaders and on environmental defenders in recent years and it is one of the world’s deadliest places for environmental activists;
rejects the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement recently made between the European Commission and the Mercosur group of countries;
mandates the Government to:
— vote accordingly at the European Council and the Council of Ministers and consider this motion as binding on this and future Governments; and
— immediately begin building a coalition across the EU to ensure that this deal is rejected; and
calls on the Government to:
— ensure that Ireland’s interests are put to the fore in all engagements on this matter, including using all legal and political means available to frustrate and thwart the deal; and
— nominate a suitably competent person to defend Ireland’s interests as the next EU Commissioner.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann:" and substitute the following:
— the announcement by the European Commission on 28th June, 2019, of an agreement in principle on an EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement;
— the very genuine concerns expressed by our farming community in relation to the beef and other agricultural tariff rate quota proposals in the deal particularly given the serious challenges already facing this sector due to Brexit;
— that as a small, open, export-led economy, Ireland very much supports balanced and sustainable international trade; and
— the positive elements in the Agreement for Ireland including the significant benefits for Irish exporters in sectors such as business services, chemicals, the drinks industry, machinery, medical devices, and the dairy industry with a reduction or elimination of tariffs and barriers to trade for these sectors;
further notes that:
— the Agreement includes a detailed chapter on Sustainable Development Goals and recognises the urgent need for action on climate change;
— the Agreement aligns with the Paris Agreement commitments in relation to deforestation and re-forestation of some 12 million hectares, as a part of ensuring that Mercosur, including Brazil, will have to effectively implement the Paris Agreement as part of this deal; and
— civil society organisations will be given an explicit role in overviewing the implementation of the Agreement and to flag any environmental or labour concerns;
recognises that:
— it will take approximately two years before the final text of this Agreement is available; and
— the ratification process will involve the European Council, the European Parliament and member state national parliaments, including Dáil Éireann; and
agrees that a comprehensive, independent, economic and sustainability assessment will be carried out on the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement, which will ensure that Government makes a fully informed decision when deciding on the position to take when the ratification process on this deal commences in approximately two years' time."
-(Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation)

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to amendment No. 1, tabled by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, to the Sinn Féin motion on the EU-Mercosur trade agreement. On Wednesday, 10 July 2019, on the question that the amendment to the motion be agreed to, a division was claimed. In accordance with Standing Order 70(2), that division must take place now.

Amendment again put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 46; Níl, 84; Staon, 0.

  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Zappone, Katherine.


  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Curran, John.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seán Kyne and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Martin Ferris.
Amendment declared lost.
Question, "That the motion be agreed to," put and declared carried.

As an objective observer, I apologise for all those whose tempers might have been a little bit frayed today. We will leave it at that. Enjoy the summer.

Sitting suspended at 2.05 p.m and resumed at 2.45 p.m.