As the Deputy will be aware, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (supported by the Environmental Protection Agency) is responsible for the authorisation of GM crops for cultivation, while my Department regulates its use, once authorised.
In 2018, the Government approved the transposition of Directive 2015/412 which will enable, though not compel, Ireland to opt out of cultivation of GMO crops approved for cultivation elsewhere in the EU. There are no approved GM crops cultivated in Ireland currently.
My Department only authorises pesticides on the basis of robust scientific evidence indicating high levels of protection for human and animal health and the environment. In addition, plant protection products and their users are subject to further regulation under the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive which incorporate requirements on training, sprayer testing, disposals, integrated pest management and use reduction around vulnerable areas and vulnerable groups.
In relation to palm oil, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is the competent authority for the implementation of legislation governing GM food and the Department of Health is responsible for policy in this area. As the competent authority, the FSAI ensures that only EU-authorised GM foods are allowed on the market and that they are labelled appropriately.
I can assure the Deputy that the Government keeps Ireland's GMO cultivation policy under ongoing review, particularly in light of scientific developments in this rapidly evolving sector.