Afri expresses dismay at the EPA decision to grant GM potato licence

Press Release, 26th July 2012

The justice and human rights group Action from Ireland (Afri) has expressed dismay at the decision of the Environmental Protection Agency to grant a license to grow genetically modified potatoes in Ireland.

From left to right: Chef & TV presenter Clodagh McKenna, Clare O’Grady Walshe & Ruairi Quinn advocating a ‘GM-Free Ireland’ at an Afri press conference on the 21st February 2011 to alert the Irish public of an imminent decision by Minister Brendan Smith to allow GM products into Europe and Ireland. Photo Derek Speirs

Joe Murray of Afri described the move as short sighted and one that threatened Ireland’s economy by eroding its reputation as a ‘green, clean’ food producer. “The move by the EPA to grant approval for the GM potato trials by Teagasc is completely ill-advised. It will do serious reputational damage to Ireland’s flourishing organic industry at a time when there is an ever increasing demand for organic food. By contrast, there is little appetite for GM foods either in Ireland or in Europe” said Mr Murray.

“The argument that Ireland needs a blight resistant GM potato is ridiculous because there are already blight resistant potatoes in Ireland – and they are not genetically modified and therefore do not pose any risk of contamination to other crops,” Mr Murray continued.

Waylon (Gary) White Deer, Choctaw artist, whose ancestors sent a cash donation to Ireland during the Great Famine, also criticized the decision of the EPA calling it a “dangerous step”. Mr White Deer described the decision as having critical consequences for food sovereignty and biological diversity. “It is important that the Irish people don’t give up their food sovereignty. This is a risky experiment which, if unchecked, will eventually lead to the corporate control and manipulation of Irish food sources. Now that GM has gotten its tentacles into the Irish soil it is important that we don’t let them spread.”

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