Irish apologists for a sell out quote press releases on farm incomes from Teagasc (The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority). Even in the worst years for Irish farming Teagasc comes out with a positive spin in relation to Irish farming incomes. Teagasc figures tell half the story. Where for instance is there a reference to rocketing costs? Interest rates, electricity, gas and diesel prices have spiralled out of control. Farm maintenance, insurance and building costs are prohibitive. Government/EU imposed regulation hinder agriculture. Many farmers can no longer afford to purchase fertilizers. That is the reality. It is not spin.
Academics such as Alan Matthews seek to explain away the negative effects of any WTO deal. Matthews needs to get out of his academic ivory tower. His livelihood is not on the line. Irish supporters of the putative WTO deal make references to EU farm subsidies. They conveniently omit to state that these subsidies are paid as a quid pro quo for production cuts. And now Mandelson is supporting more EU agricultural production cuts.
The IFA assessment of the loss of 100,000 jobs is correct. Not alone will many thousands of farmers go out of business, but thousands of jobs in food processing and other spin off industries will go. Rural Ireland will become a desert. Those 100,000 jobs exist at present. So why should we should throw them away for half baked promises of service jobs that we may secure in the future on the back of a new WTO agreement. It is time to get real. Mandelson wiped out the sugar beet industry. Dairying, beef, poultry will now go the same way.
Academics such as Matthews and certain business elements are prepared to throw away food security for cheaper food imports that often lack traceability. No mention of the health of consumers. The majority of Third World farmers will gain nothing from the proposed WTO deal. The ranchers in the US, Brazil and Australia will benefit. Meanwhile the US increases its subsidies to a handful of ranchers whilst EU farmers will be put out of business.
There is no guarantee that Ireland will continue to increase its service employment on the back of a revised WTO deal. Much of this-within the next 10 years-will start moving to countries such as India. Also there is a strong likelihood that the 12.5% Corporation Profits Tax will be neutered by the EU. I say hold what jobs we actually have. These farming jobs are based on our natural resources. An Irish failure to veto Mandelson's proposals -as currently constituted -would be the ultimate in political folly. Prior to the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty Brian Cowen promised Padraig Walshe of the IFA that he would use the veto if necessary. It is time for the VETO.