Clare councillors have called on the Irish Government to allow “a democratic debate” in the Dáil to thrash out the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada.

In a special motion tabled before the local authority by Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) which was co-signed by Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF), Cllr PJ Kelly (FF), Cllr Ann Norton (IND), Cllr Pat O’Gorman (FF), Cllr Mark Nestor (FF), Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF), Cllr Michael Begley (IND), Cllr PJ Ryan (IND), Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF), Cllr Pat Hayes (FF), Cllr Susan Crawford (GP), Cllr Bill Chambers (FF) and Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) pressing the Government to allow a “full, open and democratic debate” ahead of a Dáil vote on CETA’s ratification.

Cllr McGettigan credited the Clare PPN with bringing the matter to her attention and she paid particular thanks to Cllr Murphy and Cllr Hayes for getting the item on the agenda. She detailed that concerns have been voiced by farmers, environmentalists and trade unions regarding CETA. “We need a democratic debate,” the Shannon representative insisted.

Trade agreements were described by Cllr Murphy as positive “by and large”. He outlined, “What concerns me is the lack of public debate and understanding on CETA. Will the ratification tie our hands with regards to introducing progressive legislation. Much of this trade agreement is already in place since 2017”.

Ex Mayor of Clare, Cllr Begley felt it was “extraordinary that a bill such as this would be introduced without any discussion to the people of Ireland”. A CETA workshop for councillors was suggested by Cllr Crawford.

“I am disappointed this is the way business is done in our country. We need to be clear, all politicians, Senators, TDs need to be clear on the implications on certain aspects of this bill and how it might bite us in the future,” Cllr Hayes stated.

More facts and figures were needed for Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) to support the proposal, he admitted and added, “these trade agreements are crucial”.

Last week, Dublin South-Central TD Patrick Costelloe (GP) lodged High Court proceedings over CETA which has caused significant divisions in Government. He said there is legal opinion that CETA is unconstitutional and lodged the proceedings on Monday over whether a referendum would be needed on the controversial trade deal.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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