‘A slap in the face for Irish farmers’ – Kilkenny’s Phil Hogan under fire over EU-South America trade deal
IRELAND’S EU Commissioner – the former Kilkenny TD Phil Hogan – has come under fierce criticism from Irish farmers over a highly controversial new trade deal with South America.
Under the deal, which the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has described as “reckless and wrong”, up to 99,000 tonnes of South American beef will come into the European market.
The IFA warned the deal will “decimate” our already fragile beef sector.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed agreed it was “a bad deal for Irish beef farmers” and said other member states, including France, Poland and Belgium, also had concerns.
Phil Hogan, the EU agriculture commissioner, accepted that beef farmers have worries in relation to the deal.
“We gained in relation to industrial products and we were on the defensive and lost a bit of ground in agriculture. These are the swings and roundabouts of trade.”
Reports today suggested the former Kilkenny TD’s prospects of being nominated by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for a second term as commissioner may be damaged by the deal.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin hit out at the trade deal, saying it “flies in the face of the climate change agenda”.
He added: The fact that Phil Hogan has been championing this is a slap in the face for Irish farmers.
“It suggests to me he may be moving on from the agriculture portfolio if he is retained as the government’s nominee as commissioner.
“I note that the agriculture minister has articulated concern. What I would like to know, and what I intend seeking to have answered, is what discussions took place between minister Creed and commissioner Hogan about the deal.”