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Lecturer highlights TTIP concerns in Ennis

Grave concerns about the impact of a proposed bilateral trade and investment deal between the European Union (EU) will be outlined at a public meeting this week.

Lecturer Barry Finnegan will present a case why the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should be vigorously opposed during his talk at a meeting in the Temple Gate, Hotel, Ennis this Wednesday night at 8 pm.

Mr Finnegan is a lecturer at the Faculty of Journalism & Media Communications, Griffith College and a researcher with the Irish branch of the international civil society group ATTAC and with the TTIP Information Network.

According to the EU, this crucial trade agreement that will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs and pump billions of euros into economies on both sides of the Atlantic.

It says a successful pact is expected to benefit Ireland more than any other EU Member State.

That’s because almost half (49%) of Irish exports outside of the EU end up in the US, compared to the combined average of 16% for all Member States, and 25% of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ireland comes from the US.

However, while the new deal is likely to generate increased profits for large companies by removing and reducing production costs associated with health and safety standards, Mr Finnegan is concerned people nor parliamentarians can get access to the details of the TTIP currently being negotiated by the European Commission and the US Department of Trade.

Questioning EU claims of economic and job growth, he says there are fears TTIP may even cause unemployment as jobs switch to the US where labour standards and trade union rights are lower.

He is worried TTIP will open up Europe’s public health, education and water services to US companies, which may lead to the privatisation of public services.
One of the main aims of TTIP is the introduction of Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), which allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits.

In effect, he warns it means unelected transnational corporations can dictate the policies of democratically elected governments.

He fears foreign investors would be able to bypass Irish and European courts and avoid the jurisprudence and constitutional rights accompanying the application of justice in democratic societies.

The EU says it has approved its proposal for a new and transparent system for resolving disputes between investors and states – the Investment Court System. This new system would replace the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in all ongoing and future EU investment negotiations, including the EU-US talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Meanwhile, EU ambassador to Washington, Dubliner David O’Sullivan believes TTIP will be a big boost for Ireland as an export nation.
Ambassador O’Sullivan points out that TTIP is also a strategic alliance with the country that most shares Europe’s commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as a high level of protection of people and of the environment in regulation.

“With only 1% of the EU population, Ireland accounts for more than 14% of all US investment to the EU, investment that supports 100,000 jobs.

“TTIP will make it easier for US companies to invest in Ireland and vice versa and this can only be a good thing for our school-leavers and graduates.”

“TTIP will be a powerful shot in the arm for Ireland as it rebuilds its economy on a more diversified, sustainable basis,” the Trinity College graduate said.

Dan Danaher

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