The Dáil has passed a motion calling on the government to reject the controversial Mercosur trade deal.
The free trade deal between the EU, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay is the largest Europe has ever agreed.
It will allow the South American countries to export 99,000 tonnes of beef to the EU every year and farmers have warned that the influx of cheaper meat will damage their livelihoods.
This afternoon, Sinn Féin’s motion calling for the deal to be rejected passed by 84 votes to 46 – after Fianna Fáil supported it.
The vote is not binding and the Government can simply ignore it.
The deal has also been heavily criticised for the potential effect it could have on the world’s climate – with a huge increase in destruction of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in the months since President Jair Bolsonaro came to power.
Data from the country’s space agency finds that the rainforest saw 88% more deforestation in June compared to the same month last year.
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy noted that the Dáil has now become the first parliament in Europe to reject the deal.
“The Dáil’s rejection of Mercosur is hugely significant and gives clear direction to the Government that it must do all in its power to stop this deal.
“I hope that other parliaments across Europe follow suit and that the European Commission accepts that this type of trade deal is not acceptable.
He said there is agreement among farming organisations, opposition parties and “it seems among several members of the Cabinet” that the deal is bad for the agriculture industry, the economy and the climate.
“Today's Dáil motion clearly directs the government to vote against the deal at European Council and to use all legal and political means available to ensure that this deal is rejected,” he said.
“An important message has been delivered that cannot be ignored by our government or the European Commission.
“The battle against Mercosur made significant progress today.”
The Mercosur deal obliges signatories to “effectively implement” climate pledges made under the Paris Agreement.
One of the pledges would require Brazil to end illegal deforestation by 2030 and restore and replant 12 million hectares of forest every year.
Critics have warned that huge swathes of forest could be cut down in preparation for the increase in trade before the deal comes into force.
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