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Lowry Will Oppose Mercosur Deal

Tipperary TD Michael Lowry.

“The Mercosur deal which would allow Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina to access EU markets is a bad deal for our Irish farmers”, Tipperary Independent Deputy Michael Lowry stated yesterday.

The Deputy continued, “This deal will result in what is estimated to be an extra 99,000 tonnes of beef emanating from these four South American countries, causing untold damage to our Irish beef farming sector”.

“I have already informed the Minister for Agriculture Mr Michael Creed that Ireland should not endorse this agreement in its present format. Although the EU has promised to protect food standards and environmental factors as part of the deal on imported beef, farmers here are already feeling uncertain about the fallout of a potential no Brexit deal”, he continued.

Deputy Lowry further stated, “We will need to see our Minister for Agriculture and our Taoiseach fight for the Irish beef farmers at EU level. How can we enforce a guarantee against the risk of undocumented and potentially infected animal breeds, should this deal be ratified. We must not overlook the issues regarding standards when it comes to beef coming from Brazil. Traditionally Brazil has been permitted to export its beef, despite standards not reflecting those of the EU.”

“The environmental impacts in terms of the carbon footprint used by exporting this amount of beef , as well as the problems associated with deforestation in Brazil, means that this deal, if ratified, is even more damaging to the environment than it is to our Irish beef sector. Brazil currently maintains record levels of deforestation”.

Concluding Deputy Lowry stated, “I do recognise that the Mercosur deal does potentially opens markets for Europe’s motor industry, financial services and telecommunications; signalling hugely beneficial opportunities. However, our Government needs to be mindful of the market disruption to our own agricultural sector, which will undoubtedly cause huge financial losses to our beef producers. Our rural communities are already at risk with falling beef prices, and the overall uncertainty of Brexit. Therefore, I have called on the Government to vehemently oppose the ratification of this Mercosur deal on behalf of farming communities in Tipperary and countrywide.

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