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GM POTATOES -IRISH TRIALS


Written in Consultation: 03/18/12, 06:44:01 by jonathan  | Print article  | View all categories.
GM POTATOES -IRISH TRIALS|jonathan|1332078241|Teagasc, Ireland's agriculture and food
development authority, have applied for a licence to conduct an 'open' trail
of genetically modified potatoes in Ireland.

This is the first time a government agency has applied to use genetically
modified seed in Irish soil...a watershed moment which needs to be
recognized and considered carefully by the public.

Their application arrived with the EPA on February 27th, 2012 and objectors
have until March 27th 2012 to make representations.

Teagasc's rational for the trial can be found here:
http://www.teagasc.ie/news/2012/201202-27.asp

You can download a summary of Teagasc's application to the EPA here:
http://www.epa.ie/downloads/forms/lic/gmo/gmtrial/name,31960,en.html

A link to detailed information on making an objection:
http://www.epa.ie/downloads/forms/lic/gmo/gmtrial/name,31966,en.html

Representations to the EPA  about Teagasc's application must include the following:

(a) made in writing

(b) received by the EPA at the following address:

The EPA
P.O. Box 3000,
Johnstown Castle Estate
Co Wexford.
NO LATER THAN 5.00 p.m. on 27 MARCH, 2012

(c) accompanied by a fee of Ä10- the representation will not be accepted without this fee.

Before proceeding with an application the following references may be of help in researching the subject prior to making representations:

The Food Ethics Council provide a comprehensive range of information on the
subject of genetically engineered food, covering the often neglected social
and climate justice issues:

http://www.foodethicscouncil.org/home

Points and tips to assist objection writing and a link to a petition
proposing a moratorium on Genetic Modified food cultivation are available on
the Irish GM Moratorium site:

http://www.gm-moratorium.com/


The Teagasc application: Issues for consideration
1. The rational for this trial of GM potatoes is their potential resistance
to blight and the cost this would save farmers on fungicides while helping
them meet EU limits on use of chemicals. Teagasc, quite emotively (and
unfairly!), use the Irish Famine to motivate support for the trial. In fact,
it may very well be the development of monoculture which left Ireland so
vulnerable during the famine period, highlighting the high value we place on
biodiversity today. We could be the one EU country out of the ĎAMIGAí
consortium, (representing 15 EU countries and funded through the EUís
Framework 7 research programme) who act as the 'control' (the one
participant not using GM) and explore the cultivation of biodiversity and
other alternative bio-technological techniques to stave off blight.

2. Because there is not turning back once GM is allowed in, this
is a decision for the people of Ireland, not the EPA. The Aarhus Convention,
gives every citizen a right to information on and participation in the
development of any product, project, or process that will impact on the
health of their environment. Although we are one of 2 countries that haven't
ratified this convention, it has been law in Europe for over 5 years now,
and therefore is law here by default.

3. In their application Teagasc state the following as an objective:

'While the agronomic and economic benefits of using GM to deliver novel
control strategies for late blight disease are clear, the intractable debate
that has taken place between the proponents and opponents of GM, continues
to highlight the publicís wish for further, impartial information on the
potential impact of GM crops in Ireland.'

In response Teagasc will also conduct an outreach programme with
stakeholders and the public through focus groups and open days, to
facilitate an inclusive and impartial discussion on the issues that most
concern people.'

If an investigation of public opinion is a necessary part of the trial
shouldn't this happen BEFORE the actual trial is considered, rather than
while the trial is already taking place? This point links back to our rights
under the Aarhus Convention and the directives it has generated. Firstly we
should be given the information we need to construct an informed opinion and
then we should be given a role in the decision making. A window of 4 weeks
to object to an application is hardly adequate.