Varadkar accused of 'lack of leadership' on trade deal

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been accused of an “absolute lack of leadership” in relation to environmental concerns about the affect of the Mercosur trade deal.

Fianna Fáil’s climate action spokesman Timmy Dooley claimed Mr Varadkar was more influenced by French President Emmanuel Macron’s approach than concerns that have been raised in the Dáil.

It comes after Mr Varadkar warned Ireland will vote against the Mercosur deal with South American countries unless Brazil protects the Amazon rainforest, which has been hit by record numbers of wildfires.

In June, Mr Macron said he wouldn’t sign the deal if Brazil pulled out of the Paris Accord to fight climate change. He renewed the warning this week.

Mr Dooley said that his party raised environmental concerns relating to the Mercosur deal in a Dáil debate in July. He claimed that Fine Gael ignored these points and Mr Varadkar, saying: “[It] Seems to be more influenced by the comments of President Macron.” He claimed the Taoiseach has “shown an absolute lack of leadership on this from the outset”.

A Government spokesperson said Mr Varadkar told the Dáil in July if Brazil didn’t abide by the Paris Accord the Mercosur deal is “dead in the water”.

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