Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Questions (19)

Clare Daly


19. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will justify his stance in relation to the temporary ban on neonicotinoid insecticides. [21409/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The European Commission proposed a partial ban on the use of 3 neonicotinoids over concerns for bees.

The European Commission proposals to restrict the use of neonicotinoid insecticides was discussed at the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 14/15 March 2013 and the resulting vote was inconclusive, with 14 Member States refusing to support the measures proposed by the Commission.

Accordingly, the matter was tabled at an Appeal Committee meeting held on 29 April where again the vote on the proposal did not receive a qualified voting majority. Under comitology procedures, it is now a matter for the European Commission to legislate on the matter. It is likely that a ban on the three substances under consideration will now come into effect later this year.

At the Appeals Committee meeting on 29 April, Ireland engaged with the Commission and the Member States in a constructive and helpful way and actively supported efforts to find a workable and meaningful compromise on the proposals to restrict the use of neonicotinoid insecticides. These efforts aimed to find solutions that allowed suitably controlled use of the compounds without presenting unacceptable risks to bee populations.

Ireland initially opposed the Commission proposal to allow time for further consideration of the scientific evidence (e.g. UK bee study) and to create the space for consideration of a compromise. Hungary and Germany drafted compromise texts which Ireland could support if they were broadly supported by Member States and by the Commission.

Ireland recognised the importance of the precautionary principle in relation to this matter, and fully bore this in mind in discussions aimed at achieving an approach that would enjoy broad support among EU Member States and be acceptable to the Commission.

However, the Hungarian and German proposals were not acceptable to the Commission and efforts to find a compromise failed and Ireland decided not to oppose the Commission proposal.

Question No. 20 answered with Question No. 7.