TO MY disgust, I have just heard that, a mere two weeks before leaving office, Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith voted to weaken the EU’s GM safety rules and claimed that Ireland would now vote in favour of new GM approvals at EU level, without a mandate from the Irish people.
Survey after survey shows that more and more people all over Europe do not want to eat or buy GM crops. Ireland could be the breadbasket of Europe if we keep such crops out. They have no proven advantages and research is starting to show up more and more long-term ill effects, both on animals, humans and the environment. We must make our voices heard against GM crops and do everything to help Ireland become a great agricultural country again.
RICHARD D BARTON
TINAHELY, CO WICKLOW
Minister has skewed view of policing needs
YESTERDAY I saw some of the coverage of the GRA conference and was dismayed to see the comments made by Justice Minister Alan Shatter regarding the Government's plan to reduce garda numbers.
He said that public safety is not a matter of garda numbers but smart policing, investigative skill and reliable intelligence. While intelligence-gathering and investigative skills are obviously necessary to an efficient police force, I find it difficult to comprehend how the minister can have such a skewed view of police practices. How is An Garda Siochana supposed to uphold high standards of intelligence gathering and investigative skills, with such low numbers?
NAVAN ROAD, DUBLIN 7
Country never held debate on open border
I AM not at all surprised at the response of Karen McHugh, CEO Doras Luimni, to my recent letter regarding the decision in 2004 of the Irish Government to open our border to workers from other EU states. Since this decision was taken the movement of people into Ireland is unprecedented in modern history.
In any normal democracy, this would warrant debate. But this being Ireland, and thanks, I suspect to groups such as Doras Luimni who are ready at an instant to criticise anyone who dares broach this subject, there never has been any debate on this issue.
If anyone deserves to be scapegoated for the situation that has arisen in Ireland, it is the 2004 Irish Government and successive governments who have failed abjectly to engender or engage in debate on this issue.
KILMIHIL, CO CLARE