Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West has called on Minister Mitchell O’Connor to come forward with a timeline for a debate and referendum on CETA nationally.
With two months having now passed since the European Parliament voted on the Canada-EU Comprehensive and Economic Free Trade Agreement (CETA), Mr. Carthy spoke on the issue from Brussels.
Carthy has stated that the ‘Minister is refusing to come forward with a clear timeline for the debate and vote on CETA in the Dáil, despite questioning.
“This shows not only disregard for the Irish Constitution and Justice system, but also disregard for co-legislators in the Seanad who last year rejected the deal on the basis that it is clearly a bad deal for Ireland.’ Carthy said.
“By late Spring, almost 95% of the deal will be provisionally applied through a procedure that flies in the face of the democratic process.
"This means that almost all provisions, save those on the establishment of a multilateral Permanent Investment Court, will be in operation. He added.
“At no point in the negotiation process did the Minister or the Fine Gael Government explain how they intended to address these sovereignty issues leaving us in danger of violating our own Constitution.
Mr. Carthy feels that the concerns voiced by the Seanad have not been addressed either.
“This puts us at odds with many of our European counterparts where constitutional challenges are gathering pace against the deal. He said.
The Midlands North-West MEP raised the point that France, Belgium and Bulgaria have all confirmed that they will be putting the deal before their Constitutional Courts based on legal issues such as equality before the law, national sovereignty and lack of references to the precautionary principle.
“If the Government thinks sitting back and waiting for provisional application to convince people will work, they are deluded.
Mobilisations across Europe have proven the lack of appetite for an unaccountable international court with the powers to call nationals laws into question.’’
“It is not the prerogative of Fine Gael to dismiss issues of constitutionality, and it is impossible for Ireland to ratify CETA so long as it contravenes the Irish Constitution.’
The MEP noted how the time has come for a referendum on this deal, highlighting we risk setting a very dangerous precedent for our courts.
Carthy is now calling for a meeting with the Minister to discuss these issues in depth.
Recently, we caught up with Matt Carthy MEP as he highlighted to dangers of CETA to Irish farmers.