Denis Drennan, President of ICMSA.
Pic: Don Moloney

ICMSA President says last minute scramble to get Mercosur done will “end forever” EU credibility on global warming.


The President of ICMSA, Denis Drennan, has reacted to media reports of a last-minute scramble on the part of the outgoing EU Commission to conclude a Mercosur Agreement by warning that any such deal will “end forever” the right of the EU to comment or develop policy in relation to global warming

Noting that he thought it most unlikely that agreement would be reached given the scale of current farmer protest and dissension in both France and Germany, Mr. Drennan said that “even the idea” that a deal could be rushed through before the Commission’s mandate expired was as astonishing as it was demoralising. The ICMSA President called on the Taoiseach to signal immediately Ireland’s opposition to any such cynical attempt to ‘race for the line’ on the part of those elements who had never given up on their attempt to facilitate mass importation of South American beef regardless of the entirely predictable environmental disaster that would entail.  

“Irish farmers – still reeling from the severity of the restrictions and cuts that the Government have hit us with in the name of climate mitigation – will read with disbelief the reports that the EU Trade Commissioner has expressed optimism about reaching a deal with the Mercosur bloc before the European elections this June. The principal commodity that the Mercosur countries have to export to the EU is beef and other less important agri products. In the event of a trade agreement being reached, those exports will be increased and produced off cleared forests – that’s not the opinion of farmers groups, it’s the opinion of every reputable analysis of the situation. So, the proposed Mercosur Agreement boils down to this:  to facilitate EU tech and financial exports to South America, the EU proposes to facilitate South American beef imports here that will wipe out what’s left of indigenous EU beef production, while inflicting cataclysmic damage to the most important forestry left on the planet. Is there any sentient person in the EU Commission who imagines that that is a tenable policy? You’d really have to ask”, said Mr. Drennan.

“What’s amazing here is the ‘political deafness’ of the Commission and the ‘political hypocrisy’ of governments like our own, who are happy to ram through measure-after-measure on the grounds of sustainability and climate mitigation that hit farmers – and only farmers – while allowing the Commission to aspire to agreements like the Mercosur Agreement that would, at a stroke, negate every single environmental measure that the EU has carried through in a decade. What’s the point of this? Where is the consistency? Where’s the logic of shutting down beef production in Ireland while signalling the Brazilians that they can start clearing what’s left of the rainforests to raise lesser quality beef to export to us?”

Calling on the Irish Government to ‘stir itself’ and begin co-ordinating a group to shut down forever any prospects of such an agreement, Mr. Drennan said that the nothing less than the credibility of the EU to ever talk on the Environment was ‘on the line’ here.   This notion of so-called environmental guarantees is a joke and needs to be called out as one.

Ends      30 January 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office