Where has FF Govt’s WTO veto pledge gone as deal edges closer? – Breen

July 23rd, 2008 - Pat Breen


Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has questioned the status of the Fianna Fáil Government’s pre-Lisbon Treaty Referendum commitment to using Ireland’s veto in the case of WTO proposals that would sell out Irish farming.


“The WTO talks are entering a critical phase and we have seen EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson express optimism about a deal. While the Commissioner has said that Europe can’t and won’t accept a deal it cannot defend at home, this will not inspire confidence in farmers who are well aware of Mandelson’s long-time stance.”


“Meanwhile, the Minister for Agriculture has been complaining about the proposals but failing to put his money where his mouth is. If the Minister is as concerned and worried as he says he is about the latest WTO negotiating document on agriculture, then he must unequivocally state that the deal on the table is unacceptable and will be vetoed.”


“As an agrifood manufacturing country, Ireland has the capacity to feed 36 million people. This industry is the successful outcome of the CAP whose post-war goal was to ensure enough food was produced for the millions of hungry people in Europe at that time. These goals are more urgently needed now since the effect of climate changes are being seen in big fluctuations in agricultural yields in different parts of the world – such as drought in Australia cutting dairy and grain production by a third. Argentina and China are making their food exporters pay a tax on every tonne exported to keep agricultural products in the country. The EU should be reviewing food supplies and production capacity not cutting it to the bone.”


“The Taoiseach Brian Cowen in the dying days of the Lisbon Treaty campaign gave a pledge to use Ireland’s veto in the case of WTO proposals that would sell out Irish farming, I am now calling on the Taoiseach and Agricultural Minister to deliver on this commitment”.