Ireland needs to take a “firm stance” against the cultivation of crops containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) to protect its “green” reputation, a farm body leader has warned.

Patrick Kent, president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), made the comments following the Cabinet’s decision to back a proposal by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, to prohibit or restrict the cultivation of crops containing GMOs.

Last Tuesday (July 10), the Government approved for the transposition of Directive 2015/412 of the European Parliament and of the European Council, which will enable Ireland to opt out of cultivation of GMO crops approved for cultivation elsewhere in the EU.

In a previous directive, member states were obliged to allow the growth of crops from GMOs, where specific projects have been approved by the European Food Safety Authority.


Praising the decision, Kent said: “This is a welcome recognition of the importance of moving towards declaring the whole country GMO free.”

He added that the ICSA has been at the forefront of pushing for such recognition.

We know that the vast majority of consumers around Europe want GMO-free produce; yet vested interests continue to try to foist these genetically modified elements upon us.

“It is imperative that these efforts are resisted, as the market for pure and trustworthy forms of food is here to stay.

“Ireland needs to take a firm stance on this if we are to protect our international reputation as a green, sustainable food producer,” said Kent adding “it is also imperative if we want to command a premium price for our produce”.

‘Launch Pad’

The ICSA believes that this move should be used as a launch pad to “intensively market” Irish food across the globe.

“We need to see all Government agencies pulling in the same direction and getting on board with the GMO-free vision. This should include an end to any further GMO trials at Teagasc facilities,” he concluded.