“Comprehensive and detailed further scrutiny of CETA must now be undertaken by a number of other Oireachtas committees”

Independent Senator Alice-Mary Higgins has called for other Oireachtas Committees to undertake scrutiny of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) following the split-decision of the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs on the need for further scrutiny. 

Seven members of the Committee reported that “there are real and unresolved concerns for the implications of implementing ICS in respect of sovereignty and public policy of member states” and “resolutions to ratify CETA should not be presented to Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann, so as to enable a vital wide ranging national political inquiry and debate across all sections of society on the implications of ratification.” 

Senator Higgins said: “Following the publication of the Committee’s report it is clear that CETA needs further scrutiny and examination, especially in light of the impact ratification will have on public policy in Ireland and other EU member states.” 

“Scrutiny of CETA is currently on the work programme for the Committee on Environment and Climate Action, the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Committee on Justice. These Committees – and indeed other Oireachtas Committees must be given the opportunity to scrutinise the impacts of CETA and the Investor Court System (ICS).”

“CETA and ICS have implications for Ireland which reach far beyond the scope of any single Oireachtas Committee. TDs and Senators must be given the opportunity to consider the regulatory ‘chill effect’ created by ICS will impact public policy in respect of specific areas such as climate, health, housing, and public finances.”

“Fear of litigation will prevent successive governments from enacting vital public policy measures and regulations on issues such as the climate and biodiversity crises, the housing crisis and workers’ rights.”

“The tide is going out on trade agreements which contain investor-state arbitration mechanisms such as CETA. The recent decision on the Energy Charter Treaty and the lack of investor-state arbitration mechanisms in new trade agreements such as the USMCA, clearly demonstrates that governments across the world are recognising the threat to regulation that such mechanism pose. If CETA is fully ratified by all member states it will take thirty years to exit. Comprehensive and detailed scrutiny from multiple Committees policy perspectives is the least the public can expect when it comes to a decision which such far reaching implications.”

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