Government's GM policy is 'bizarre' claim scientists
Agriculture committee opposed to EU proposals to loosen GM controls
The Irish Government's stance on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has been slammed by some of the country's top agriculturalists.
The Agricultural Committee chairman, Andrew Doyle, stated that his committee would not be supporting an EU proposal to loosen the controls on GMOs because they believed that the move could "excessively increase the presence of GMOs within the EU food-chain".
"The agricultural heritage of Ireland has traditionally been non-GMO based and the Committee is apprehensive of Commission proposals which may impinge on this," he added.
However, the stance has been branded another retrograde step by UCD's professor of crop science, Jimmy Burke.
"Europe has gone backwards over the last 10 years, and the situation in Ireland is only getting worse," he said.
"We're losing pesticide active ingredients all the time, and if we are serious about changing the plant production model, we need to be looking at genetics. I just cannot see the economic advantage of Ireland's position. There's never been an issue with GM technology, it's got a long safety record, and it makes farming easier," he said.
One of the committee's main concerns was what they referred to as the "very restrictive" criteria on which a Member State could object to the entry of a GMO product into its country.
It also noted its scepticism about who would really benefit from the liberalisation of GMOs, citing the possibility of larger corporations exploiting and controlling markets.