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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 24 July, 2019
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Dáil rejects EU-Mercosur trade deal in symbolic vote

Fianna Fáil voted against the Mercosur deal.

Image: Leah Farrell

A MOTION TO reject the Mercosur trade deal has been passed by the Dáil this evening.

The Sinn Féin-proposed motion passed by 84 votes to 46.

Mercosur refers to a customs union between Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay; the recent trade deal was struck with the EU after almost 20 years of negotiations.

This week, members of the farming community protested against the deal in the streets of Dublin, arguing that cheap beef and steak from Brazil and Argentina would put pressure on beef farmers across Europe. They also argued that the same environmental, ethical and health standards as the EU’s wouldn’t be met. 

Climate change activists also expressed concern about doing a deal with Brazil, whose President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to cut down Amazon rainforests to supply more land to beef farmers.

Tonight, Fine Gael voted to keep the deal, arguing that it had the potential to benefit other industries such as the pharmaceutical and dairy industries. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the deal will be assessed for pros and cons.

Fianna Fáil, which is in an increasingly fractured Confidence and Supply Agreement with Fine Gael, voted against the government this evening.

Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Brian Stanley welcomed this evening’s vote, saying the vote “must be respected”.

“The Irish parliament… has called on the Irish government to reject a deal which is bad for farmers, bad for the environment and bad for consumers.

“The Dáil has also called on the Irish government to immediately begin forming alliances with other countries within the EU to vote against this deal.

Stanley said that this was “essential” as Ireland has no veto on this deal; the Irish Farmers’ Association welcomed the vote, and said that it would intensify its campaign in Europe to have the deal rejected.

Stanley continued:

It’s time for Leo to listen farmers who know a lot more about farming that he does. It’s time that Fine Gael took on board the advice of climate action groups.

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