The controversial EU-Canadian trade deal has been referred to an Oireachtas Joint Committee by the Government for further consideration.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the Dáil that he was open to a debate on the benefits of CETA, saying Irish companies were already benefiting from the trade agreement.

However, approving the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), has caused significant difficulties within the Green Party.

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media said the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) "was not elevated" during government formation talks as a "contentious" issue.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Catherine Martin, who is also the deputy leader of the Green Party, welcomed today's announcement the controversial EU-Canadian trade deal has been referred to an Oireachtas Joint Committee by the Government for further consideration.

Minister Martin said the deal is "worthy" of being referred to a Committee.

She explained that during negotiations on the Programme for Government contentious issues were referred to the deputy leaders of the three government parties.

She said, "CETA never came to the deputy leaders table."

"There were many contentious issues, worthy of a very vigorous debate. If it was a real issue of contention it was then been elevated to the deputy leader to try and reach agreement. I can tell you CETA never came to the deputy leader's table."

One Green TD Neasa Hourigan, who has threatened to vote against CETA, said today that "... full Oireachtas scrutiny is very welcome".

She contended: "The investor state courts aspect of CETA will have serious ramifications on national regulation and sets up a court outside our own domestic system."

Green TD Patrick Costello said today's announcement was a "very welcome development".

He added: "I am glad to see that we will finally have an opportunity to see key questions answered particularly on the constitutionality of the ICS system on the Dáil ratification of CETA."

Deputy Costello said the question of whether CETA requires a referendum must be addressed comprehensively.

The issue may be considered at the European Affairs Oireachtas Committee but that has to be confirmed.

The agreement was due to be ratified in December 2020 but the vote was postponed in the Dáil due to concerns expressed by Green Party TDs.

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.

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


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