December 13, 2019
News

Daggers out for Kilkenny’s Big Phil – and local TD is sharpening the knife

By COLIN BARTLEY

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan is facing a fight for his political life in the wake of the bitter fallout over the controversial trade deal with South America.

And the former Kilkenny TD is facing opposition from within his own party and constituency ranks after Fine Gael’s Carlow-based Deputy Pat Deering called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to “reconsider” appointing Hogan for a second term.

Mr Hogan, the EU Agriculture Commissioner, is facing fierce resistance in Ireland and Europe over the EU-Mercosur trade deal which politicians and farmers say will flood the Irish and European market with cheap South American beef.

It is believed that many cabinet ministers are not happy with the deal and are questioning Commissioner Hogan’s re-election to the highly sought-after position over his involvement in the negotiations.

Fine Gael Kilkenny-Carlow TD Pat Deering reportedly told the Irish Independent he had “reservations” about putting Mr Hogan forward for commissioner once more.

Deputy Deering, a farmer himself and member of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), rubbished the deal, saying: “From a beef point of view – particularly when the beef sector is on its knees – this is not going to help.”

However, Commissioner Hogan has come out battling and accused the IFA of spreading misinformation and putting EU jobs in jeopardy.

Earlier this week he warned Irish beef farmers they can’t have it both ways, referring to a recently signed and lucrative deal between the EU and several Asian countries and Mexico, which he said was very favourable to the Irish beef sector.

In Brussels, Fine Gael MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuiness, also knocked the deal.

She said: “We have in Europe signed many good agreements that help agriculture, Mercosur is a particular worry and an alarm bell.”

“I think we must resist at the moment while we assess the detail of it.”

Attempts to contact Deputy Deering unsuccessful.

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