Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin take GM debate into Local Councils

29 September, 2003

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone representative Cllr McHugh has welcomed the challenge of the Green Party's John Barry to councils to take forward the GM debate particularly in light of the fact that Newry and Mourne Council have already overwhelmingly supported a Sinn Féin motion seeking to ban GM crops and foods.

Cllr McHugh said:

"Sinn Féin is way out ahead in the GM debate. In July Sinn Féin called for an urgent debate on GM food and crops and issued a call to keep Ireland 'GM free'.

"Since then Newry and Mourne Council have already overwhelmingly backed a Sinn Féin motion on GM foods and in other council areas Sinn Féin will also be bringing motions to open up the debate on the whole issue. In Newry and Mourne the call was for legislation banning GM crops and foods and the council have now written to Ministers with responsibility for the issue both north and south.

"Since legislation on the regulation of genetically modified food and feed was passed by the European Parliament, along with further passing of co-existence guidelines which wish to prohibit national or regional governments in banning the use of Genetically Modified Organisms, the European Union has rolled over to the threats of the US and the profit hungry GM companies.

"It is vital that a full public debate takes place and that all of the issues surrounding GM are aired. Irish farmers and consumers are being denied the opportunity to voice their opinion. This debate must take place on an Island wide basis; it is nonsense for one part to opt for Genetically Modified Crops or Food, while the other part abstains. Cross contamination of hybrid plants and crops could contaminate the whole island.

"Farmers in particular have a lot to loose if Genetically Modified Food is grown in Ireland, they have no to control over the Hybrid nature of these plants. There is so little knowledge about the possible impact from cross contamination and the entry of new genes into the Irish. Crop gene pool. Local farmers will also be at the mercy of consumers if this technology goes wrong, they will be the ones who will suffer huge losses not the large corporations like Monsanto." ENDS

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