TTIP DestructiveTo Tipperary Farming

Cllr Séamie Morris of Sinn Féin has attacked as destructive to Irish farming and Irish food standards the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). He argues that the agricultural sector needs the right conditions to maintain development, but TTIP threatens to undermine the good work done by Irish farming communities.

Cllr Morris said: “As one of the biggest events in the farming calendar takes place this week, the National Ploughing Championships, this is the time to consider the horrendous treatment of the sector by the current government, and the threats posed by TTIP.”

I was reared on a subsistence farm in Ballywilliam in my formative years. I know only too well how the small farmer is continually being squeezed out of existence. The TTIP trade treaty could finish the notion of small farming for good.”

The current form of these negotiations is unacceptable to Sinn Féin and to Tipperary farmers. As the recent milk crisis has taught us, promises of increased prosperity from changes to market structures not only turn out to be empty but detrimental.”

The new GLAS payment scheme is a poor replacement for the REPS and AEOS payments. The payment is hard to obtain and provides a poor financial return for the costly and stringent conditions needed to receive it.”

Between the saga around the ending of milk quotas, beef market price manipulation, and the exclusion of many tillage farmers from the Young Farmers scheme, a large proportion of Tipperary small and medium sized farmers are in a dire situation.”

Farming has huge potential to contribute to indigenous job creation through value-added processing. There’s enormous potential in both the domestic and export markets.”

But the agriculture sector needs the right conditions to develop. Sinn Féin supports a radical reform of the farm payments system with upper limits on individual payments and a fair distribution of payments to protect small and medium producers. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are on record as fully supporting the secret negotiations. Sinn Féin’s Freedom of Information requests to have the make-up of the negotiations made public are continually denied.”

The TTIP treaty negotiation is ongoing between the USA and the EU, and is the single largest threat to Irish agriculture and standards in decades. TTIP will downgrade Irish and European food standards to allow genetically modified food, chlorinated chicken, and hormone treated pig meat into the Irish market. It also paves the way for fracking, lowering of animal welfare standards and the introduction of food products from cloned animals.”

The negotiations within the EU are in top secret conditions and will be the first major EU treaty in which there will not be a referendum, because of the Lisbon Treaty’s changes to our laws.”

TTIP will cause further price disturbance in all Irish agriculture markets by opening up our markets to US producers, where lower working conditions and lax regulation allows US farmers to produce cheaper products. This will force Irish producers to further reduce prices in order to compete. Introducing American corn fed beef to Irish markets is only one example.”

Irish farmers must be part of these negotiations, the only way for that to happen is for the contents of the negotiations to be public. TTIP’s very inception in secret conditions epitomises its undemocratic and underhanded nature.”

For too long in Tipperary farming supports have been reduced while our young must emigrate. Our ability to make a decent living is being eroded. Irish farmers must be stake-holders in these negotiations, not victims of their destructive and secretive profiteering.”


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