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Genetic Concern welcomes Greek Ban

Genetic Concern Welcomes Greek ban on Field Trials

Calls on Ireland to join initiative and maintain environmental integrity

Genetic Concern today welcomed the decision by the Greek government to reject all pending applications for experimental plantings of genetically modified organisms.

Greece is also to call for a European wide moratorium of all commercial releases of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and of any trade in genetically engineered seeds.

The initiative was announced late last week by the deputy minister for the environment Theodoros Koliopanos in Athens.

Kolliopanos also announced that Greece will seek to form an alliance with like-minded European governments to at least block any further approvals of GMOs.

"Ireland with its so-called clean and green image should be leading in Europe on this issue, instead, we are sadly trailing behind Austria, Luxembourg and Greece" said Quentin Gargan, spokesperson for Genetic Concern. "In stark contrast to the moratorium on planting GMOs which Fianna Fail promised, the government has procrastinated while other countries forge ahead and apply bans which maintain their environmental integrity"

Presently the only member state of the European Union where commercial releases of GMOs have taken place is Spain. According to the Swiss multinational Novartis, around 20.000 hectares of their antibiotic resistant and insect killing Bt-Maize had been planted there last year. Novartis announced it will try to sell GMO maize again in Spain and Germany this year. Planting of the same maize had been banned in France last year. The maize is also banned in Austria and Luxembourg.

In Great Britain a voluntary agreement seems to prevent any commercial releases and a similar agreement as been reached in Denmark.

In New Ross last week, the probation act was applied to six out of seven environmentalists charged with sabotaging a genetically engineered sugar beet trial belonging to Monsanto. The seventh had previous convictions and was bound over to keep the peace for 12 months. Judge Donnchadh Ó Buachalla said he was conscious that the protest was conducted in a very honest, good-humoured manner"

For further information please call

John Seymour, 84 year old author and organic farmer who was given the probation act in New Ross: 051 388156

Quentin Gargan, Genetic Concern spokesperson: 088 275 4857

Genetic Concern
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