SIPTU has called for an open public debate concerning the possible risks for the Irish economy and public services which would result from ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a proposed free trade deal between Canada and the EU. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, John King, said: “We welcome the recent passing of a Seanad motion that calls on the Government ‘to neither agree to sign up or authorise’ any ‘provisional application’ of CETA. “Our members have very serious concerns about the impact this proposed deal could have on our economy and in particular the provision of public services. There is concern that the application of this agreement could result in the increased outsourcing of public services and a race to the bottom in workers’ terms and conditions. “There is also unease in relation to the proposal to introduce an Investor Dispute Settlement Mechanism which will adjudicate on cases where corporations sue governments. This mechanism has been widely criticised for undermining the power of national governments to act in the interests of their citizens.” He added: “These are among the very real concerns which need to be the subject of an informed public debate prior to our Government assenting to this deal. The passing of the Seanad motion on CETA, which was proposed by Senator Alice Mary Higgins and supported on a cross party basis, should be utilised as the starting point to this public discussion. “The CETA deal is due to be signed by Canada and the EU later this month. However, the European Parliament and Dáil will have a debate and vote on its application. Our members’ concerns must be adequately dealt with and the public reassured that this deal will not undermine our economy and public services. Otherwise, SIPTU members will have no alternative but to campaign against the application of the CETA deal in Ireland.”