A welcome discussion on CETA

Labour Youth welcome CETA Oireachtas referral.

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) has been referred to the Oireachtas Committee on Climate, as well as the Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs following intense campaigning by all sides in an attempts to have proper scrutiny prior to any vote.This is a move welcomed by Labour Youth, who have been calling for such action to be taken.

It is the view of Labour Youth that the referral to the relevant Oireachtas Committees is the bare minimum, and the very least that can be done in order to ensure that open, transparent debate on what i a detrimental trade deal takes place. Labour Youth are profoundly concerned with the deal, and in particular, the provision within the deal allowing for the establishment of an Investment Court System (ICS). The ICS is a mechanism that allows multinational companies to sue a state for profit loss as a result of government policy implementation.

Many hypothetical scenarios have been envisioned as a result of the threat of such a provision. The question has been asked that, had an ICS be in operation in 2004 at the time of the smoking ban, tobacco companies would have had a forum to sue the Irish government over a potential loss of profits as a result of the smoking ban policy.

Similarly, in today’s world, who’s to say that major direct provision contractors will not sue the Irish government over a potential loss of profit as a result of the outlawing of direct provision, and the subsequent cancelation of their contracts? Labour Youth believe that the ICS will provide legitimate mechanism for corporations to do this.

The ICS implementation under CETA will allow for serious workers, environmental and human rights violations in the near future, as companies will have the ability to stop countries from implementing policies in the public interest if it is not in their interest. Labour Youth are baffled by the position of the government, and genuinely cannot see the merits in ICS and its benefits.

Labour Youth share the view of Professor John Sweeney who wrote that the ICS is “a highly significant step which effectively compromises Irish sovereignty and creates a major vulnerability for a country such as Ireland highly dependent on foreign direct investment”.

We now hope that the government, following scrutiny at the Oireachtas Committees, will see the merits of our own courts in Ireland and their capability to make decisions in relation to companies’ legal challenges against the State, rather than voting for an ICS that will take such power out of the hands of the Irish judiciary.

Labour Youth now call on all TDs in Dáil Eireann to vote against CETA, in the same way that the Cypriot parliament has done already.

Labour Youth also implores concerned activists and members of parties to articulate clearly to their local Oireachtas representatives, particularly those belonging to government parties, their unequivocal opposition to CETA, and to ensure that their representatives are aware of CETA’s potentially great detriment to workers rights, environmental rights and human rights, rights that can and will be violated should the current provisions of the deal be implemented.

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