Green Party Cabinet ministers have written to the party membership to allay concerns regarding the EU-Canadian trade deal known as CETA.

The ratification of the deal was postponed in the Dáil earlier this week due to concerns expressed by Green deputies like Neasa Hourigan.

In the letter, which is signed by Ministers Eamon Ryan, Catherine Martin, Roderic O'Gorman and super junior Minister Pippa Hackett, they say they recognise that CETA is "a difficult issue." 

The letter states that while "some concerns remain", the Cabinet members believe that that CETA "has been improved" - in particular the investment dispute mechanism.

They add that they have been re-assured about the climate impact of the deal; the programme for government affirms support for trade agreements; and ratification is politically important for Ireland. 

The letter states that they "remain committed to driving forward the reforms to the global economic system that are needed to protect the planet and the people". 

It said the trade deal was "raised with the parliamentary party on three occasions over the past six weeks".

The letter adds: "We decided to postpone the vote [in the Dáil] until January to allow for more considered debate."

Earlier this week, Green TDs Nessa Hourigan and Patrick Costello told their party's leadership that they will not back the Government this week if CETA was put to a vote in the Dáil vote.

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) is a trade agreement reached between the EU and Canada which requires the backing of parliaments across all the EU Member States to be fully operational.

So far it has been endorsed by 14 national parliaments.

CETA has been operating on a provisional basis since then and has cut tariffs and red tape as €72.3 billion were traded in goods between the EU and Canada in 2018 alone.

However, to give full effect to the agreement all national parliaments in the EU must vote to give it the green light.

This was due to happen in the Dáil tomorrow, but the vote is almost certain to be postponed following unease within the Green Party and among the opposition parties.

Those opposed to CETA say it allows large corporations to sue countries if regulations hinder those companies' ability to trade.

Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats and Solidarity-PBP claim this would put in jeopardy future legislation aimed at protecting public services and tackling climate change.