The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) is to be referred to an Oireachtas committee by the Governement for further discussion. The move represents an attempt to prevent an internal division within the Irish Green Party.
The motion would postpone a Dáil vote to ratify the CETA deal that would likely divide Green TDs. A Dáil vote on CETA was already planned in December 2020, but delayed due to the substantial conflict within the Green Party.
Ministers such as Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin have confirmed their support for the ratification of the deal. Nonetheless, they have welcomed the decision to bring the deal in front of the Committee for further consideration.
“We think that the EU Affairs Committee is the best one to deal with it as trade negotiations on international agreement are an EU competence.,“
, Ryan’s spokesman confirmed to independent ie.
“I have heard concerns of Green party members, NGOs and others. Listening to diverse views on such an important trade agreement, before any Dáil vote, is a positive step,” said Green deputy leader Catherine Martin, to journal.ie.
The Europe-Canada trade deal has caused a great deal of controversy within the Irish Green Party. Among the critics are Green Party TDs Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello who have voiced strong dissent against the CETA trade deal and thus won’t support a full ratification.
They both claim that CETA would allow multinationals to sue governments if regulations restrain these corporations’ ability to trade. “It’s a massive reorientation of power. It makes sure corporations and investors always win. This is high-stakes environment policy stuff.” said Hourigan according to The Times.
Costello also supported the motion for the deal to be presented before the Oireachtas Committee. “The news that CETA will now go before the Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs is a very welcome development and will finally ensure a longer and more comprehensive debate will be facilitated,” he said to independent ie.
He also pointed out that the question of whether CETA requires a referendum must be addressed comprehensively.
Hourigan welcomed the news as well, as reported by the Irish examiner. She declared that “Scrutiny by an Oireachtas committee is a necessary step in the process but not an end in itself. An Oireachtas committee should provide a forum for the detailed examination of some of the issues we have with the Ceta treaty, particularly the investment court system.”
As for TD Sinn Fein’s Mairéad Farrell, Journal.ie reported that she hopes that the governement will be able to address the following questions: “What will be the Committee’s remit in this matter, will other committees be involved given the wide-ranging nature of this treaty, will the European Affairs Committee have the power to recommend CETA’s rejection, what experts will be called to testify, will civil society groups/NGOs be allowed to testify, and lastly will it examine the budgetary risks it poses?”
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