IFA President Joe Healy will lead IFA National Officers and members of the IFA Livestock Committee in a protest at the EU Commission offices in Dublin at 8am tomorrow morning over the double standards of the Commission in their reckless pursuit of a ‘Sell Out’ trade deal with the South American group of Mercosur countries.
“We will be there to oppose EU Commission plans to sell out Irish farming in a deal with the devil that is Brazil and its new President Bolsonaro,” he said.
“It is totally unacceptable that the Commission is prepared to sacrifice Irish and European farmers, but they are also giving the green light to the further destruction of rainforests. Farmers are sick of the double speak from the EU Commission which lectures us on climate change, but is prepared do a deal with a country with a climate destruction agenda,” he said.
“The Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office has volumes of reports which expose in stark terms the failure of the Brazilian authorities, in particular, to meet EU standards on animal welfare, traceability, food safety and the environment,” he said.
“We hear a lot about the size of the Irish cattle herd, which is under seven million. Yet Brazil have 230 million cattle, with a further 53 million in Argentina. The EU Commission will have no credibility if they proceed with this deal,” he said
“Irish farmers are rightly asking how the EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan can stand idly by and allow EU negotiators to show such a blatant disregard for EU standards,” he said.
At a time when the EU is on the brink of losing the UK market with Brexit, it is reckless of the Commission to agree to a deal which would see tens of thousands of tons of substandard beef from Brazil and other South American countries come onto the European market.
The IFA President and the Livestock Chairman Angus Woods met the chef de Cabinet DG Trade in Brussels on Friday, where they set out IFA’s outright opposition to any deal. The issues raised were also highlighted in the strong communication by the European farm organisation COPA opposing the deal.
In a separate communication to the Commission, some 340 NGOs from across Europe have said the deal should be abandoned.
Joe Healy was very critical of the seven Prime Ministers who are turning a blind eye to low standards and are intent on giving the Brazilian Prime Minister Balsonaro free licence to continue destroying the environment,” he said.
“This is the ultimate test of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who must waste no time in building opposition to this at EU Council level.”