GENET archive


2-Plants: Irish GM potato trials 'will ruin local agriculture'

                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  The chips are down for GM potato crops
SOURCE: Irish Independent, by Aideen Sheehan
DATE:   23 Feb 2006

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The chips are down for GM potato crops

THE growing of genetically modified crops in Ireland was described at a
protest yesterday as "evil" and "the biggest rip-off in the history of
the State".

These patented crops will inevitably contaminate ordinary ones, causing
farmers to lose ownership of their crops and putting them in the hands
of multinationals, said Michael O'Callaghan of lobby group GM-Free Ireland.

Fr Seán McDonagh of the lobby group said he believed patenting living
organisms was fundamentally wrong.

"This is the corporations taking over your life and it's evil. It's time
we stood up and said no," he said.

Around 150 opponents of GM crops protested outside Leinster House
against an application by German chemical giant BASF to carry out a five-
year field trial of blight-resistant GM potatoes at a farm in Arudstown,
Summerhill, Co Meath.

The Environmental Protection Agency said they had received around 91
submissions about the BASF potatoes with more being hand-delivered right
up to when the deadline for objections ran out last night.

They will now review these submissions and possibly seek further
information from BASF before making a decision on the application
towards the end of April.

If approved, the potatoes would be the first new GM crop grown in
Ireland since the controversial Monsanto sugar beet trials in the late 1990s.

There were concerns about the possible health effects of GM food as
animal trials had given "serious cause for concern", said Dr Elizabeth
Cullen of the Irish Doctors Environmental Association.

The Irish potato industry, already suffering from the impact of the
Atkins low-carb diet, could be further damaged if news of GM potatoes
being grown here reached our overseas markets which don't want GM food,
said Green Party leader Trevor Sargent.

                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GM potato trials 'will ruin local agriculture'
SOURCE: Irish Examiner
DATE:   22 Feb 2006

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GM potato trials 'will ruin local agriculture'

Trials for genetically modified potatoes in Co Meath will ruin
agriculture in the area, it was claimed today.

Farmers, food producers and consumers held a demo outside the Dáil
against the proposed five-year BASF Plant Science project in Summerhill.

The picket called for the Government to ban genetically modified (GM)
crops in Ireland.

Today is the deadline set by the Environmental Protection Agency for
public submissions on the proposal which will be sited near the Hill of
Tara in the Boyne Valley.

The experiment is due to begin in April and continue until October 2010.

John Flynn, rural development chairman of the Irish Cattle and
Sheepfarmers Association (ICSA) said today: "Ireland has a very
marketable clean, green image, and it is essential to maintain and
develop that.

"Trials like this are totally counterproductive, and very damaging to
that image.

"The ICSA will never allow huge commercial interests like BASF to come
into Ireland and ruin the agricultural sector."

Canadian expert Prof Joe Cummins claims the GM experiment presents a
clear risk of contaminating conventional and organic Irish potatoes.

"The people and wildlife of Ireland should not be exposed to
inadequately tested genetic constructions," said the Emeritus Professor
of Genetics at the University of Western Ontario.

Prof Cummins accused BASF of making specious assumptions that could also
produce toxic effects on humans and wildlife.


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