The Government has been comprehensively defeated in a vote on the EU-Mercosur trade deal this evening - just before the Dáil summer recess.

The Dáil vote saw 84 TDs back a Sinn Féin motion that calls for the rejection of the deal.

Only 46 TDs voted against the motion that also urges the Government to begin forming alliances with other EU countries to block the deal.

Although the vote is largely symbolic, it will keep the pressure on the Government over the controversial agreement, which may not be ratified for two years.

Yesterday, a large number of farmers protested outside Leinster House to oppose the deal, which they fear will lead to large imports to the EU of beef from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Sinn Féin's agriculture spokesperson Brian Stanley said the Irish parliament has spoken and the Government must reject a deal that is bad for farmers.

He called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to listen to farmers and to take on board the advice of climate action groups.

"Today must be a turning point for farmers and for our environment," Mr Stanley said.

The Dáil will meet again on Tuesday 17 September.