Call for Dáil debate before EU trade deal with Canada is signed

Minister calls on Catherine Connolly to ‘suspend judgment’ for final document

Catherine Connolly: “this trade agreement opens us up to neoliberal policies without any regulation”

Catherine Connolly: “this trade agreement opens us up to neoliberal policies without any regulation”

 

A call has been made for a Dáil debate on a transatlantic trade agreement between the EU and Canada before the European Commission signs the deal on October 28th.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly said the Government had given the “thumbs up” to the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (Ceta).

She said, however, that it should not have been signed without debate and it was an agreement that “dare not speak its name in this chamber”.

She asked “is Ceta on such thin ice that it cannot withstand free speech and free debate? I ask the Minister not to sign up to this on October 28th but to bring the matter before us so that we can discuss it.”

Minister for Education Richard Bruton urged Ms Connolly “to suspend her judgment on this until we see the final document and the opportunities it presents and we protect ourselves against any risks”.

Mr Bruton stressed the trade agreement would be brought before the Dáil for debate in the usual way when its details had been finalised and that was the approach always taken in such agreements.

He said that “in the long term a trade agreement is good for a small, open trading economy such as ours.

“We need those markets, particularly in light of Brexit. We need to look at the detail of this agreement and not to leap to the conclusion that any trade agreement is bad,” he said.

Creating jobs

But she claimed “this trade agreement opens us up to neoliberal policies without any regulation. It opens up our public services and makes it extremely difficult for us if we change government in the future to go back and bring public services back under public ownership.”

Public service

He said this meant there could be no diminution in health, safety or workers’ or others rights as a result of the agreement.

Mr Bruton added that modifications had been made to the agreement to take public concerns into account.

He said Canada was a good market and the agreement would allow “greater entry to the Canadian market for certain products such as Irish dairy products”, which have been blocked up to now.