GM Free Cymru

Ireland moves towards a GMO crops ban

Date Added to website 7th October 2015

Ireland moves towards a GMO crops ban

Northern Ireland has now followed Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, France and Scotland by bringing in a GMO crops ban -- ie. asking for derogations on the 7 GMO crops currently in the approvals pipeline. It looks as if pressure is building in Ireland as well -- with Sinn Fein taking a very strong line. We are still waiting in Wales, although derogations have been asked for in respect of two named varieties of GMO maize -- MON810 and maize 1507. Further developments expected..........

Science doesn't support growing GM crops, says Mark Durkan as ban ushered in

By Linda Stewart

Published 22/09/2015

Mark H Durkan

The Environment Minister says the science to support the growing of GM crops doesn't exist.

The move follows an EU decision earlier this year to allow member states to opt out of growing approved GM crops within their territories.

Mr Durkan warned that allowing the controversial technology to be used in Northern Ireland would damage the region's clean and green image internationally.

"I remain unconvinced of the advantages of GM crops, and I consider it prudent to prohibit their cultivation here for the foreseeable future," Mr Durkan said.

"The pattern of land use here and the relatively small size of many agricultural holdings creates potential difficulties if we were to seek to keep GM and non-GM crops separate. I consider that the costs of doing so could potentially be significant and, in many cases, totally impractical.

"Further, we are rightly proud of our natural environment and rich biodiversity. We are perceived internationally to have a clean and green image. I am concerned that the growing of GM crops - which I acknowledge is controversial - could potentially damage that image."

The Minister denied the decision to ban GM crops is not science-based.

"I wouldn't exactly say that. I would say that it is a precautionary approach, which we should take to everything where the environment is concerned," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"While critics might argue that the science isn't there to support the ban, the science doesn't exist to allow this type of thing to proceed."

Mr Durkan said there are question marks over the potential impact of GM crops on natural resources, including potentially devastating impacts on ecosystems. If the scientific evidence emerges that would support a GM crop being approved, a future minister would not be prevented from reversing the ban, he said.

However, Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson said he hoped Mr Durkan had come to his decision on the basis of sound scientific analysis, and "not based on a political calculation".

"There is a need for an open debate about GM crops. As with all policy-making, our guiding principle should be to follow the science. It should not be forgotten that Northern Ireland's intensive sector requires massive imports of grain from the US and South America to survive and compete on the world market," he said.

Last night, the Ulster Farmers Union said it recognised why the Minister had made the decision, but warned that it could create problems if the Republic of Ireland take a different approach.

France, Latvia and Greece have all announced that they are banning the growing of GM crops. Other EU member states are required to indicate their intentions by October 2.


• GM crops are not grown commercially in the UK, although there have been trials of GM potatoes and wheat in recent years
• GM crops and food can enter Europe as food, biofuel or animal feed. GM food and feed must be approved by regulators and labelled but meat and dairy products from animals fed on GM feed are not required to be labelled
• In 2011, the EU began allowing low levels of unapproved GM crops in animal feed. Large amounts of GM soya and maize are imported into Europe as animal feed. l Only one GM crop - a type of maize used for animal feed - is grown commercially in the EU


Irish government must now declare GM intentions- Lynn Boylan MEP

22 September, 2015 - by Lynn Boylan MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has once again called on the Irish government to declare its intentions for GM crops.

“With news today that the North's Environment Minister will be banning theses crops, it is high time the Irish government in the south gets off the fence and reveals its plans.

“Citizens do not want GM crops to be grown in Irish soil and the Irish government must now follow the North's example and commit to a ban to protect our excellent reputation as quality food producers.

“It’s hesitance to do so thus far is a worrying sign for Irish farmers, citizens and consumers.'


SNP welcomes Northern Ireland GM decision

Mon, 21/09/2015 - 17:10

News that Northern Ireland will follow Scotland in banning GM crops under new EU rules has been welcomed by the SNP. Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister, Mark Durkan, has taken the decision to ban the cultivation of GM crops citing the need to protect the environment and Northern Ireland’s green reputation.

This follows the decision last week of France and last month of Germany, to use the same EU rules to ban GM crops. The Scottish Government took the decision in August to restate its precautionary approach to the cultivation of GM crops in Scotland to protect Scotland’s clean, green status.

Commenting, Rob Gibson MSP said:

“I very much welcome the decision of the Northern Ireland to join Germany and France in following Scotland's lead and banning the cultivation of GM crops. Northern Ireland has recognised, like Scotland, the importance of protecting our food and drink sectors green reputation.

“Scotland’s food and drink sector recently broke the £14 billion barrier for the first time and has grown twice as fast as the sector in the UK has a whole since 2008. The Scottish Government’s decision to restate our long-standing precautionary approach to the cultivation of GM crops will protect our clean green reputation – allowing our valuable food and drink sector to continue its remarkable growth.

“A growing number of governments – across Europe – have followed the lead of Scotland in taking this step to protect public health and the biodiversity of our environment. Whether it is on climate change, renewable energy or fracking – we are determined that Scotland remains at the forefront of environmental protection in the EU.


Northern Ireland’s decision to ban GM crops is reported here:

France’s decision to ban GM crops is reported here:

Further detail on the food and drink sector’s turnover can be found here: