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Minister Cannot Evade Responsibility Over GM - Ferris

8 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has said that the Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan cannot be allowed to evade responsibility over the consequences for Irish farming of introducing genetically modified crops. Deputy Ferris was speaking in response to a reply from the Minister to a question he tabled regarding the decision to allow the growing of genetically modified potatoes in County Meath. 

Deputy Ferris said: “In her reply, the Minister states that she has “no function” in the decision-making process with regard to genetically modified crops. While this is technically true, it does not obviate her patent responsibility for the reputation and safety of Irish farming which will be undermined if GM crops are permitted here. I specifically asked the Minister to make a statement on the dangers which GM potatoes will present to conventional crops, and she refused to answer.

“Scientific research from other countries clearly shows that cross-contamination is impossible to prevent. Therefore, any GM crop grown here will be certain to affect conventional crops of the same species. Given the clear opposition of consumers to GM this will have serious and damaging consequences for the sale of Irish food. If the Minister feels that this is not her responsibility it raises serious questions regarding what her role is.” ENDS

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