Kildare TD concerned meat imported from South America could be 'catastrophic' for Irish farmers

Deal could see 99,000 tonnes of South American beef allowed into Europe

Kim O'Leary

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Beef farmers need to be supported not patronised - Nolan

Fianna Fáil TD for South Kildare, Fiona O’Loughlin says the Minister for Agriculture needs to ensure that Irish farmers interests are will represented in Europe.

Deputy O’Loughlin is calling for an opposition to any ratification of the Mecosur deal while we await the repercussions of Brexit on our farmers.

She said, “This deal has taken almost 20 years to negotiate and Irish farmers have opposed the proposals in it every step of the way.  The deal has always had the potential to damage Irish farming but combined with the possible loss of trade in the British market as a result of Brexit, Mercosur could prove catastrophic.

“This deal will see 99,000 tonnes of South American beef allowed into the European market every year.  We export around 270,000 tonnes of beef to the UK every year and the ratification of this agreement will have a huge impact on prices, at a time when beef farmers here are already to the pin of their collars. The agreement would totally undermine Irish and other EU beef farmers by flooding the EU with cheap, sub-standard Brazilian beef."

Deputy O'Loughlin said that this deal could have 'a detrimental impact' on the environment with regard to importing the meat across thousands of kilometres from South America into Europe.

“Minister Creed knows that this is a bad deal for Ireland.  He must engage with his European counterparts to ensure that there is no decision to ratify this deal given that we do not know what the full impact of Brexit will be. This is an exceptionally volatile period and the EU should not take any decisions on this deal until the full post-Brexit scenario is known," concluded O’Loughlin.