Just in case Irish farmers were getting comfy at the mercy of a handful of factories where profit margin is a fanciful dream and bracing for full impact of Brexit, our ever so kind EU leaders decide to throw Irish farmers to the wolves as negotiation fodder to get BMW, Mercedes, Wine and textiles into South America. We’re now landed with Mecosur, that will include an additional 99,000t on the tariff quota for beef.

This is a bad deal for Ireland, not alone will our beef industry pay the price but it will adversely change our rural social fabric. Behind the Irish beef and suckler sector is small farms and families. This is the back bone of rural Ireland and this was evident during the collapse when it kept Ireland in motion i.e. not Mercedes or BMW. We have the highest quality beef in the world and heavily invested capital to protect the environment and environmental friendly programs to ensure that farming and wildlife can be successfully managed. With 90% of Irish beef exported it’s a serious worry to consider the prospect of South American beef a few cent cheaper in the supermarkets of Europe and not at all comparable regarding animal welfare and environmental standards which yet again highlights the hypocrisy of recent carbon footprint concerns.

When confronted with a motion to reject the Mercosur, Fine Gael voted in favour to keep this deal. Rural Ireland, let that sink in!