Two sides to beef trade deal


Sir, – Environmental worries about flying South American beef to Europe are stated as one of the negative factors in the EU-Mercosur trade deal, but the negative environmental impact of sending European cheese and other foods to south America needs to be highlighted also (“What is the new South American deal that will affect Ireland?” Home News, July 2nd)

Trade of perishable foodstuffs between such distant partners should be reviewed in the context of climate change, and consumers in both South America and Europe should be encouraged to buy only local foodstuffs, not for protectionist reasons, but for climate change reasons. – Yours, etc,



Co Waterford.

Sir, – Leo Varadkar says that he will do an economic assessment of the trade deal and its effects on the Irish economy overall. I think he would be better advised to do an environmental impact assessment of sailing 100,000 tonnes of beef half way around the world unnecessarily, to a market that is already fully supplied.

A few months ago Leo Varadkar was personally trying to cut back on his meat intake to try to help the environment. Is he really committed to the environment?

Think of the amount of carbon dioxide that will be emitted by the ships carrying this beef at a time when the Government is actively encouraging our farmers to reduce the beef herd and hence reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Contradictions all round? – Yours, etc,


Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I welcome the Mercosur deal and hope Ireland supports it.

One hundred thousand tonnes of South American beef in a European market of 500 million consumers is roughly two burgers, per European, per year. It is a significant amount, but it is not the catastrophe that farm unions claim.

Given the share of world beef trade represented by Mercosur, I think Ireland should grab this deal with both hands – as it grants only modest access to the European market from a huge source of world beef. And it will safeguard our beef sector from any larger market opening to South American beef for many years to come.

Effectively, our most dangerous competitor will have only 1 per cent of our market for decades. If Europe rejects the deal, South American beef will not disappear and the threat of greater beef imports will continue to hang over us.

And above all, in a world of Trump and Brexit, this trade deal supports trade and prosperity.

As exporters, we depend upon global trade and we also need a more prosperous Europe that can buy more beef. That is far more important to Ireland than the moderate amount of beef access we are conceding. – Yours, etc,


Co Mayo.

A chara, – When a third of poorer families’ income goes on food (Home News, July 2nd), it is a source of joy, not concern that Argentinian steak will soon be available at 50 per cent of the current price. – Is mise,


Dublin 6.