Responsibility for the approval for the undertaking of field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops in the State rests with my colleague the Minister for Environment and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan TD, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency. In July 2012, the EPA granted consent to Teagasc to carry out a field trial with GM blight resistant potatoes in Carlow over a four year period from 2012 to 2016 inclusive. The field trial was granted subject to conditions and will be subject to ongoing inspections and reporting requirements. Apart from this GM potato trial, there are currently no other GM crops cultivated in Ireland either for field trial or commercial purposes.
Round Up and variants of Round Up (each containing the active ingredient glyphosate) have been available on the European market since the mid 1970’s. Glyphosate has been scientifically reviewed previously by the EU and a number of OECD countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia etc. Reviews in each of these countries have established that products containing glyphosate can be used safely and without deleterious health effects on humans or the environment. Glyphosate is currently being reviewed again to determine its continued use in the EU in light of the most up-to-date evidence and analysis techniques. This review will encompass and involve all data currently available on the chemical and will involve all EU Member States and the European Food Safety Authority.