Support Small Farmers Against Fine Gael Sell Out Over Mercosur Deal

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People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has said that small farmers who are due to stage a protest outside the Dáil this afternoon have his full support and the support of his party against the Mercosur Trade Deal which represents a “sickening betrayal by Fine Gael of small farmers and efforts the to address the climate emergency.”

Leo Varadkar’s announcement that he will re-appoint Phil Hogan as EU Commissioner shows that Fine Gael will eventually back the EU-Mercosur deal despite rhetorical unease expressed by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed.

The EU-Mercosur trade deal will create a huge market for the big EU car, pharmaceutical and finance companies. It will be used by the far right, Brazil President, Jair Bolsonaro, to reward his big rancher supporters which will pave the way for unprecedented environmental vandalism by big corporate ranchers and the exploitation of Indigenous communities and the seizing of their ancestral lands in Mercosur countries.

He said: “The government betrayal of our small famers by pushing for the Mercosur deal to be signed really shows where their interests are- big business and big ranchers.

“Minister Michael Creed tells farmers that he will use health and safety and environmental clauses to prevent cheap Mercosur beef flooding Irish markets and to prevent environmental destruction in the Amazon. But the EU will have no interest or ability in policing the environmental vandalism of regimes like Jair Bolsonaro. All they are interested in is getting tariff free access for German cars and other big European industries into Mercosur. They will turn a blind to what Bolsonaro is doing in order to achieve this.

“There is already a crisis in Irish agriculture which Brexit and the EU-Mercosur trade deal makes worse. Half of Irish beef farmers earned less than €10,000 in 2017 and these smaller farmers will be most hit by the changes.

“While small farmers are struggling, three companies ABP, Dawn Meats and Kepak have become the biggest beef processors in Europe. The reality is that farmers are being ripped off by the likes of Larry Goodman -and sold out by right wing politicians.

“For the Irish government to even consider participating in deals with people like Jair Bolsonaro and his pals want who to cut down the Amazon rainforest is really quite shocking. He has already put indigenous lands under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture. This will pave the way for the cattle and soya agribusiness to cut through the Amazon- In June 355 square miles was cut down.

“While Varadkar talks about climate change, he will back a deal that accelerates climate change. The EU will be selling more cars – and Bolsanaro will be cutting down more forests.”

People Before Profit are for:

  • Oppose the EU-Mercosur deal – vote it down.
  • Take the big beef processors into public ownership – to stop them ripping off farmers.
  • With Brexit and climate change we need a ‘just transition’ to diversify Irish agriculture. A just transition means that incomes are protected by state support and farmers are encouraged to stay on the land.