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Childers calls on Government to allow open debate in Dáil and Seanad re #CETA

News item

Thursday 16 Jun 2016

Letter to An Taoiseach calling on his Government to allow a full and frank debate on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Which if passed will have huge ramifications for the Irish people.

16 June 2016

An Taoiseach

I am writing to you regarding the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

As you are aware negotiations between the European Commission and the Canadian Government are now concluded. To come into effect, the deal must be ratified by the institutions of the European Union.

This means members of the European Parliament will have to approve the deal before it can be enacted. Also in my view, the Irish government should side with the majority of its counterparts in the Council of the European Union endorsing the legal case for parliamentary scrutiny and ratification at national level. This is in line with the Committee of Permanent Representatives’ clear sense of agreement that the EU-Canada CETA is of mixed nature, and needs to be decided upon as such.

This position was also made clear to the European Commission by competent parliamentary committee chairs from 15 Member States, Ireland included.

This is critically necessary because CETA, like TTIP the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, would introduce substantive regulatory changes as a means of facilitating trade.

However most worrying of all is the inclusion of the Investment Court Systems (ICS). A special investor court that would allow corporations to sue governments through a process which would by-pass domestic courts and parliaments. There are many including myself, who believe that this element in particular requires a referendum in Ireland.

Fundamentally, and before any approval of this deal we must ask who benefits? Consumer, trade union, public health and environment groups are very concerned, and I have attached links to recent publications which outline in detail the basis of these concerns.

I therefore ask that the Government in the first instance to not support any temporary implementation of the deal by the Commission in advance of each member state approving the deal or otherwise.  Secondly, that the Government allow a full and comprehensive debate by TDs and Senators on this issue which will have major ramifications for Irish people.

Yours sincerely

Nessa Childers MEP

European Parliament
Rue Wiertz
Altiero Spinelli 15G107
1047 Brussels


European Consumer Organisation, May 2016

CETA FAILS THE CONSUMER CRASH TEST BEUC position on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement


European Pubic Service Union, April 2016

CETA and TTIP Potential impacts on health and social service


Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung (German Forum on Environment & Development) and the Transnational Institute. Amsterdam/Brussels/Berlin/Ottawa, April 2016

Investment Court System put to the test: New EU proposal will perpetuate investors’ attacks on health and environment