In a letter signed by Mark Cumming, head of Comhlamh, and dozens more civil society leaders, in February, concerns were raised over the proposed EU Canada Trade Deal known as CETA.

• Mark Cumming, head of Comhlámh.

Comhlámh campaigns for an equitable and sustainable world and has opposed CETA for years.
The letter called on the government not to rush into signing the agreement.
“There is no pressure on Ireland to vote for CETA. Nearly half the countries in the EU have yet to vote on CETA where its legality and overall benefit is still under consideration, including countries such as Germany, France and Italy,” they wrote.

The letter was signed by 28 representatives from the National Women’s Council, ICTU, Oxfam Ireland, Trócaire, the Irish Wildlife Trust, Afri, Extinction Rebellion, Feasta, Friends of the Earth, and Gluaiseacht, among others.
CETA’s critics say it is anti-democratic in allowing private corporations to sue European states if laws impact on profitability. It could also potentially hamper attempts to tackle the climate crisis.
“It erodes our democracies and the power held by ordinary people in favour of multinational corporations,” they wrote.

Defending the agreement, in April, the Canadian government insisted the agreement would not have “a chilling effect” as one Irish critic put it, on governments and that it would bolster trade.
An all-party Oireachtas committee is looking into the issue.
CETA stands for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada which aims to remove barriers to trade.