Green Party MEPs have called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue to vote against a proposal to renew the authorisation of glyphosate next week.

Glyphosate is a chemical substance used in a number of herbicide products and its use in Europe is currently approved until December 15, 2023.

A proposal by the European Commission to renew the authorisation of glyphosate for 10 years until 2033 has been discussed by EU member states.

In a vote by the Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) next week on Friday, October 13, member states, including Ireland, will confirm their positions.


Both Green Party MEPs for Ireland, Grace O’Sullivan and Ciarán Cuffe have written to the minister urging him to vote against the renewal, based on “serious information gaps”.

Following a debate in the European Parliament today (Wednesday, October 4), the MEPs are calling for Ireland and other member states to veto the renewal of glyphosate.

This comes after a risk assessment on the impact of glyphosate by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has not identified “critical areas of concern”.

However, there is a high long-term risk to mammals in 12 out of 23 proposed glyphosate uses. An assessment of the risk on consumer dietary and aquatic plants could not be finalised.

MEP O’Sullivan said the vote is a “once-in-a-decade chance” to remove glyphosate – a common weedkiller sold in garden centres and used widely in agriculture – off the shelves.

Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium have announced they will vote against the renewal, she said. Speaking during the debate today, MEP O’Sullivan added:

“Study after study has described Monsanto and Bayer’s weedkiller as ‘chronically toxic,’ ‘probably carcinogenic,’ ‘linked to liver cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease’, and ‘likely to kill 93% of endangered species’.”

The MEP also referenced a study from the University of Galway which found that glyphosate was present in urine samples of one quarter of families that took part in the study.

MEP Grace O’Sullivan speaking from the floor of the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Over one million people have signed a petition calling for a ban of the chemical, MEP Ciarán Cuffe said, adding that it is time to listen to the public’s concerns, and growing research that supports a ban.

One million tonnes of glyphosate are used worldwide every year, and the market is “dominated” by Monsanto, posing an “unacceptable” risk to the environment, MEP Cuffe added.