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9-Misc: Monsanto link to Irish trade talks delegation denied



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

TITLE:  Monsanto link to trade talks delegation denied
SOURCE: Irish Times, by Seán MacConnell
DATE:   23 Feb 2006

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Monsanto link to trade talks delegation denied

The Department of Agriculture yesterday denied a claim by Independent
Senator David Norris that a representative of the chemical company,
Monsanto was on the official Irish delegation to the World Trade
Organisation talks in Hong Kong last December.

The allegation was made during a press conference called by the GM-free
Ireland Network, to protest over an application by BASF, the German
chemical company, to grow genetically modified (GM) blight resistant
potatoes at an experimental farm in Grange, Co Meath.

Sixteen speakers told the press conference of their opposition to the
proposed five-year trial for which the company has applied for a licence
to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Speakers for farming groups such as the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers'
Association and Irish Organic Farmers said they opposed the move because
it would damage Ireland's clean, green image.

Environmentalists Dr Elizabeth Cullen, of the Irish Doctors'
Environmental Association, and Kathryn Marsh, of the EPA's GM advisory
committee, objected on the grounds that not enough was known about the
impact on human health from consuming GM products or animals fed GM products.

Fr Seán McDonagh, author and environmentalist, said GM production was a
moral issue because corporate greed was forcing people to eat
genetically engineered food.

The politicians who attended, Marian Harkin MEP and Mr Norris, agreed
and said Ireland was being forced into doing something that was unnecessary.

Ms Harkin said the chemical company's plans were the "ugly face of
globalisation" and Mr Norris said to allow GM production here would be
an obscenity.

Green Party leader Trevor Sargent said there was no demand from either
farmers or consumers for GM-produced potatoes. This was a German company
and it should carry out trials there, not in Ireland, because there were
many cases of GM crops infecting native plants and crops and that danger
could not be minimised, he said.


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

TITLE:  Monsanto 'represented Ireland at WTO talks'
SOURCE: Irish Examiner, by Jim Morahan
DATE:   23 Feb 2006

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


Monsanto 'represented Ireland at WTO talks'

THE Irish delegation to world trade talks included a representative of
Monsanto corporation, the US firm pioneering genetically-modified (GM)
crops, it was claimed yesterday.

Senator David Norris challenged the Government to explain why Monsanto
representative Mella Frewen was part of the Irish team at the World
Trade Organisation talks in Hong Kong last December.

"I think that's disgraceful," Mr Norris told a press conference
organised by GM-free Ireland Network.

Monsanto, who used the Irish delegation as "as a trojan horse", did not
represent the Irish people, he said.

"I call on Bertie Ahern and the Government to explain what that Monsanto
representative was doing at the WTO discussions, purporting to represent
the Irish people," he added.

However, the Department of Agriculture insisted last night that Ms
Frewen was not part of its delegation, but that a number of lobby groups
had attended the talks.

During a noisy demonstration outside the Dáil yesterday, about 150
protestors from many parts of the country called on the Government to
ban GM crops.

The protest was called to oppose attempts by the German BASF Plant
Science company to grow GM potatoes in the shadow of the Hill of Tara,
Co Meath.

BASF has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be
allowed to grow blight-resistant GM potatoes for five years, starting
next April.

Yesterday was the deadline set by the EPA for public submissions on
BASF's proposal. Anti-GM groups are urging Environment Minister Dick
Roche and Health Minister Mary Harney "to prevent the invasion of
Ireland" with GM seeds and crops.

Opponents of GM warned cross-contamination from GM crops could spell
disaster for Ireland's "green" image as a food nation, apart from any
unknown health and environmental risks.

"It would be the biggest rip-off in the history of the State," said
Michael O'Callaghan, who organised the Dáil protest.

Other speakers described efforts to grow GM crops on Irish soil as "new
colonialism".

The protesters represented 83 businesses and organisations as well as
more than 32,000 people. Surveys of Irish attitudes towards GM food show
60% are against its introduction.




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