IFUT General Secretary Irish Times Letter on TTIP

Transatlantic trade deal talks


The support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) by Chambers Ireland (November 1st) is misguided.
The proposed inclusion of an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism in TTIP and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) would give secret decisions in boardrooms overseas more control of Irish education than the Department of Education.
The ISDS clause places the interests and profit of private corporations ahead of the interests of citizens and society. It would give private, for-profit education companies the right to challenge, before international tribunals, not domestic courts, any government measure that they feel interferes with their profits.
A US congressional report in 2012 was damning of the “forprofit” education sector there, citing a 64 per cent student dropout rate.
It found that over 22 per cent of their revenue was spent on marketing and 19.4 per cent taken in profits. Just 17 per cent was spent on instruction.
It detailed “substandard academic offerings, high tuition and executive compensation, low student retention rates and the issuance of credentials of questionable value”.
TTIP applied here would provide judicial protection to these discredited education speculators and would discriminate even against domestic companies. The ISDS circumvents the domestic court system and poses real and serious dangers to democratic decision-making and governments’ right to regulate.
As a matter of urgency the Irish Government and Ireland’s new European commissioner should oppose the inclusion of the ISDS mechanisms in both the CETA and TTIP.
The EU Council of Ministers has already excluded the audiovisual sector from TTIP, based on the public interest goal of preserving and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity within the EU. – Yours, etc,

General Secretary,
Irish Federation
of University Teachers,
Merrion Square,
Dublin 2.


Published on the Irish Times website, 10th Nov, 2014