Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11th February, 2011

 

The Environmental Pillar Condemns the Governments U-Turn on Genetically Modified Foods

 

The Government's reversal of its policy to abstain on European Union decisions to allow genetically modified food into the EU has been condemned by the Environmental Pillar as another step towards downgrading Ireland's image as the home of safe and healthy GM free foods. The fact is that 60% of consumers all over Europe want GM-free foods.  That is a market of 514,000,000 people.  Until now Ireland has been one of the few countries able to guarantee quality GM-free foods to this market, but with this decision and the changing stance on GM food production, Ireland is turning its back on this enormous export potential.

Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith announced yesterday that Ireland would now support a number of proposals on allowing the marketing of food, food ingredients and animal feed consisting of or produced from genetically modified (GM) maize and cotton.

Michael Ewing, the Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar said,

"The Irish Sea was the last frontier to the spread of GM crops in Europe. The impact of GM foods on the health of humans and domestic animals is far from clear.   The least we can expect from any responsible government is that they have put in place risk management procedures prior to taking such decisions. However this is not the only reason that this government about face is such a disaster, as can be seen by the following quotes from members of the Environmental Pillar."

Enlarging upon this, Chrys Gardiner of the Irish Seed Savers Association noted that

"It is very likely that once the barriers to GM food are removed and GM foods are allowed to be imported, the next step is to start growing GM crops here. The impact of the introduction of GM crops into Ireland would be that all crops and related species here could ultimately be infected by these artificial transgenic genes once the growing of GM crops is allowed to commence on this island"

Dr Elizabeth Cullen,  of the Irish Doctors Environmental Association stated that

"Despite the fact that tests carried out on animals have given rise for serious concern no proper testing on the impacts of genetically modified foods on human health have been carried out".

Charles Stanley-Smith of An Taisce  stated that

"The economic and social impacts of GM crops on societies where they are grown has been shown to be substantial and the only winners in this equation are the multi-national corporations that hold the patents on these crops.  Their motivation is for ever greater control of the food markets and consequently greater profits, rather than concern for public health or environmental safety."

Despite the fact that bees and other pollinators are essential for the survival of farming and horticulture; and in the face of official UK Government studies that found that there were nearly 70% fewer bees and butterflies in fields where certain GM crops were grown compared with fields where normal seeds were sown; our Government has decided to support the introduction of GM foods into Ireland.

The position expressed in this release has been developed by members of the Environmental Pillar but is not necessarily the policy of each member group in the pillar.

ENDS

 

CONTACT:

For further details, info, opinion, etc. please contact:

Michael Ewing. Co-ordinator, Environment Pillar of Social Partnership - 
Mobile: 086 867 2153. Email: michael@ien.ie

Danny Walsh. Communications Officer, Environment Pillar of Social Partnership -
Mobile: 086 8127139. Email: danny@ien.ie

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Danny Walsh

Communications Officer

Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership

 

1 Green Street, Dublin 7, Ireland.

http://www.environmentalpillar.ie

Email: danny@ien.ie

 

Tel: 01 878 0116 / 01 878 0115

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