A Green Party TD has lodged a challenge with the High Court over the controversial CETA trade deal, which has divided the party members and leadership.
Patrick Costello TD for Dublin South Central, lodged the challenge against the Comprehensive Economic Trade Deal (CETA) between the EU and Canada, on Monday March 1, before going on to inform his government party and leadership.
In a statement tothejournal.ie,Mr Costello said, I had sought the opinion of counsel on the ratification process, in particular the Investor Court System (ICS) element of CETA which will come into effect if ratified.
The ICS involves a transfer of sovereignty and of judicial power incompatible with the Constitution.
"It is the opinion of counsel that there is a good state-able case that the ratification of CETA, and in particular the ratification of the ICS without a referendum would be contrary to Article 15 and Article 34 of the Constitution.
The CETA deal is a fair trade deal that allows for the removal on custom checks and taxes on trade between Canada and the EU, and also gives mutual recognition to qualifications to all members.
The deal has been provisionally applied since 2017, but has not been ratified by Ireland.
Some Green Party members are concerned over the deal's provision for settling disputes between international companies and national governments.
If ratified, the deal would provide companies with a mechanism to sue a state for damages, if a government introduces new laws or policies that could reduce the company's future profits.
For the full deal to come into effect, all member states must ratify the treaty.
A vote to ratify the deal was tabled for December 2020, but was delayed into the new year and further delayed last month when the motion was referred to an Oireachtas committee.
This deal has already split the party, with Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan saying he is in favour of ratifying the CETA deal, but TDs such as the Green Party sub-group the Just Transition Greens have said they will not back it.
Investor Courts as seen in other jurisdictions are hugely problematic since they allow for the governments to be directly sued by companies outside of existing legal systems," stated Mr Costello.