Charlie McConalogue Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture & Food has said he is highly concerned about reports that beef will be included in the final deal between the EU and South American Mercosur countries.
The Donegal native has said that such move could have a potentially catastrophic impact on our beef sector here, and could threaten the quality of produce entering the EU market.
The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture & Food said that the government must assert opposition to beef deal in Mercosur discussions.
“The Government has been quick to amplify concerns about a deal including beef; however statements by the Taoiseach and Minister Creed have resisted putting their objections to any deal which includes beef quotas on record”, Deputy McConalogue said.
With talks are currently ongoing, Deputy McConalogue said how there may be political support for the measure at Member State and Commission level.
“ This needs to be urgently addressed.” Deputy McConalogue said.
Deputy McConalogue has said that beef “should not form any part of the final deal, especially given the Brazilian meat scandal this year.”
“Combine inferior food standards as well as loss of existing market share and it should be obvious to consumers and producers alike that any deal involving South American beef should be avoided.” He added.
“While we support fair trade deals that are in our national interest, a Mercosur deal that includes beef fails this test absolutely.”
Deputy McConalogue made reference to the “huge” challenges that Irish beef farmers are currently facing. He said they will be left “completely exposed” in the event of a hard Brexit as 50% of all exports are destined for the UK and said that the return of any WTO tariffs would make this market “prohibitive”.
McConalogue has called on the Taoiseach and Irish representatives at Council level, to provide clarification.
“We will not support any final deal that sacrifices European and Irish beef farmers at December’s European Summit meeting”.
Last week, Minister Creed expressed his concerns over any potential Mercosur Trade deal and in particular, the beef quota, saying it could seriously damage Irish and European beef sectors.