Ryan says differences ‘healthy’ amid Green split over EU-Canada trade deal

Ryan Says Differences ‘Healthy’ Amid Green Split Over Eu-Canada Trade Deal Ryan Says Differences ‘Healthy’ Amid Green Split Over Eu-Canada Trade Deal
The Minister for Environment said it was healthy for party members to air differences. Photo: PA.
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By Digital Desk Staff

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said he will try to win party TDs over to support a trade deal between the European Union and Canada.

The Minister for Environment said it was healthy for party members to air differences, as an internal row rages over support for the deal.

A Dáil vote to ratify the EU-Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement, known as Ceta, has been postponed until January to "allow for a longer and more considered debate" after two Green TDs indicated they would not vote with the Government.

“There’s a tradition within the Green Party that you do air differences, you don’t shy away from policy discussions and differences, I think that’s a healthy approach,” Minister Ryan said.

“What I will do, is in the next month that we’re going to have to debate and set out all the various issues, is give those reasons, those very technical reasons.”


Green Party TDs Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello told party leadership they would not back the trade deal’s ratification, which was due to take place on Tuesday at 4pm.

The Ceta trade deal between the EU and Canada removes most trade barriers on imports between both regions.

It has been ratified by some EU member states, however it has faced opposition in Ireland.


Critics of the deal have raised concerns over the investor court system, which will allow corporations to sue the Government for discriminatory practices and regulations that impact their profits.

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Opponents of the deal also say it could harm workers’ rights and regulations brought in to tackle environmental problems. The Green Party has campaigned against the deal for years.

The Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA), representing Canadian multinationals in Ireland, has welcomed Minister Ryan’s comments in support of the deal.

The ICBA said the Minister had noted specific changes have been made to the deal in the last three years addressing many of the concerns he originally held, such as the finding by the European Court of Justice that Ceta must to adhere to EU law in relation to environmental and social justice issues.

The Association said it believed a failure to sign the agreement could hamper Ireland’s post-Covid-19 recovery and further expose the country’s economy to the impact of Brexit.

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