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Trevor Sargent under pressure to endorse GM crops

category national | environment | news report author Monday September 24, 2007 07:54author by Aragon Report this post to the editors

Are Greens now the anti-environment party?

Green party members are currently making a frantic attempt to halt a sell-out on GM crops. The power sharing agreement with Fianna Fail which has effectively converted the party into Fianna Fail's most effective weapon in its resistance to the environmental lobby looks as though it may come under strain because of tensions within the Green Party over this issue.

Members of the Green Party were yesterday doing everything possible to alert environmentalists to the fact that the Greens are in danger of formally abandoning their opposition to GM crops. Although this has been much anticipated since they got into government there is a suggestion that it may prove to be a divisive issue for the party. So far they have managed to maintain a relatively united front in public but that may be about to end. A party insider who was texting and phoning as many people as she could yesterday said 'Trevor is under enormous pressure to agree to this - he needs all of the support he can get to resist it.' She was asking for as many individuals and groups as possible to send him messages of support. If this goes ahead it will be curtains for the organic farming lobby in Ireland - a thriving fledgling agri-business. The lies and distortions of companies like Monsanto will win out and, as ever, our prostitute government will roll over and purr like pussy cats to yet another group of polluting corporate invaders. And at the end of the day none of the benefits which are claimed for GM will have been realised because they are based on lies and fraudulent 'science'. Farmers will be more reliant than ever on chemical and pesticide producers and corporate control of our food will have been completely ceded.

It is no coincidence that those Greens who brokered the power sharing deal are the people to personally benefit the most from the arrangement. Those same people are now driving a pro-government line in abandoning all but the least significant of their policies. And beyond that they even are staying silent on Bertie Ahern's atrocious testimony to the Mahon Tribunal.

It is claimed elsewhere that membership of the Green Party has gone up since the election. If this is true then it is testimony to the shallow and ill-informed understanding of environmental issues of many Irish people.

author by gosimeonpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 09:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is nothing wrong with GM crops by and large. If done right, there is no problem at all. No balanced research has shown any daner from GM crops. So why be so opposed to it? It's your choice whether to eat it or not; the free market also delivers organic produce - less people buy it however.

This Government has also set out to increase Organic production in Ireland greatly.

All the latest research shows that GM isn't anything to be feared.

Give this a read:
http://www.independent.ie/national-news/no-health-risk-....html

Related Link: http://www.independent.ie/farming/any-negative-effects-of-gm-foods-yet-to-be-uncovered-1082260.html
author by Aragonpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How the food polluting giant deceived the Russians to approve GM potatoes which they knew had cuased liver and kidney damage in earlier studies:

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4167.cfm

author by Aragonpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Dr Irina Ermakova, the Greenpeace consultant, has herself conducted animal feeding experiments with GM materials. In her very restrained commentary on the Russian study (1) she criticized the small scale of the experiment and its design, and was especially critical of the complacent conclusions drawn by the authors from evidence which was actually profoundly worrying. The GM potato was nutritionally inferior to its conventional counterpart and to other Russian potato varieties. The research results showed that both "normal" Russet Burbank potatoes and the GM variety caused "serious morphological changes in the internal organs" of the animals in the trials. They also showed that the group of animals fed on the GM potatoes suffered greater weight loss than the other animals, and statistically significantly greater damage to kidneys, liver and large gut. There was also greater damage to blood serum, testes and prostate. Dr Ermakova concluded: "The GM potatoes were the most dangerous of the feeds used in the trials........ and on the basis of this evidence they CANNOT be used in the nourishment of people."

author by Aragonpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 15:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Greens have come out in full spinning mode to attack this story which I also posted on politics.ie. Anyone out there who is interested in exposing the sham and sell out of the power-sharing deal might like to visit this thread too:

http://www.politics.ie/viewtopic.php?t=26830

They have even started a separate thread to repeat the mantra that 'it is better to be in power than to be impotent out of it'. Its only a few months since the election and people are already sick and tired of this particular PR tosh. It's the only response they now have to being criticised. Sadly, we are likely to have to listen to it for a long time yet.

author by Michaelpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 16:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The standard GM industry defence that no health (or biodiversity) risk has been "proven" by "balanced" research is a red herring because firstly, science doesn't proceed by means of proof (a hypothesis stands until it is DISPROVED - or shown to be unnecessary), and secondly, the main issue at stake is not the physical effect of transgenic organisms, but the social one of allowing corporations to control the food chain even more than they do without such organisms (and the "intellectual property" laws without which those corporations wouldn't bother to develop the organisms).

author by JOepublication date Tue Sep 25, 2007 18:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No surprise here. It's just a matter of what the Greens will sell out on next.

How nice of Trevor to back Bertie today? 'Let's wait for the result of the Tribunal', he said. Sure, Trevor, another two years for you and your sell-out twits. Enjoy your two years until the local elections and enjoy the next General Election. Bye bye Trevor.

author by Headser51publication date Sun Sep 30, 2007 20:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hmmmm, maybe the Greens are spinning..........
snippet:
"Interestingly, the Minister also clarified that the Programme for Government stated that "Ireland would look towards the establishment of a GM-free Island''. This did not mean a definite policy had been decided, she indicated."

Herculex to be approved by default shortly
Irish Farmers Journal

http://www.farmersjournal.ie/2007/0922/news/currentedit...shtml

By Justin McCarthy

The genetically modified maize variety, Herculex, is expected to be approved in the coming weeks - but not by Europe's politicians. The continued ban on the GM maize variety will come before EU Agriculture Ministers next Wednesday, 26 September.

Ireland's voting intention has yet to be confirmed, although Farmers Journal sources suggest we are likely to abstain.

Despite the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) giving the product the all-clear, it appears unlikely that the product will be approved by Interestingly, the Minister also clarified that the Programme for Government stated that "Ireland would look towards the establishment of a GM-free Island''. This did not mean a definite policy had been decided, she indicated.the Council of Ministers. However, the EU Commission is likely to approve the product in the coming weeks. This has been the pattern for previous approvals of GM material.

Speaking to the media at the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) conference in Trim last Friday, Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan, said that Ireland had yet to decide a voting stance. "We haven't decided yet. We need to look at the overall picture on feed - we're big importers.'' The Minister added that "the price rise might concentrate minds''.

The Minister also pointed out that 50,000 tonnes of maize by-products were successfully imported in the past 10 days.

Given European consumer resistance to GM food, there may be marketing advantages to Ireland developing a so called "GM-free zone''. However, due to the widespread adoption of GM crop varieties across the world, such a move could lead to unsustainable increases in feed costs in this country. Furthermore, as more and more GM varieties come on stream, we risk being left at a major competitive disadvantage.

Speaking at the ASA conference, Professor Cunningham, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser said: "Repeated surveys show that over 70 per cent of European citizens are against Genetically Modified (GM) food. This reality cannot be ignored. At the same time, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that food derived from GM crops, or from animals fed on GM feeds, is safe.

Referring to the idea that Ireland be declared GM-free, he said: "This could possibly have advantages in marketing the €8bn of food products that we export.

"However, in order to realise this objective, a number of challenges would have to be overcome. The first is that, as Austria and Italy have found, declaring a region GM-free may conflict with EU rules permitting authorised GM varieties to be grown. The second is that, with effectively open borders between North and South, it would require a declaration in two jurisdictions. And the third is that with GM corn and soybean constituting a growing proportion of global supplies of these two crops, and with Ireland needing to import some two million tonnes per annum of such feed grains for its pig, poultry and dairy sectors, it will be increasingly difficult to source a GM-free feed supply.''

In early July, the EU Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health voted to reject imports of GM maize. Despite a commitment that Ireland would be voting in favour of allowing imports of 'Herculex' maize, a last minute intervention by Minister of Food and Green Party TD, Trevor Sargent, led to a reversal of this commitment and Ireland abstained in the vote.

Related Link: http://www.farmersjournal.ie/2007/0922/news/currentedition/newsfeature.shtml
author by Aragonpublication date Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Greens will be the most despised political party in the country if they keep this up. Sargent's 'intervention' was nothing of the sort. The abstention was a carefully caluclated let out for them and only achieved after it was ascertained that it would not affect the outcome.

author by Headser54publication date Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was just checking around and there is a rumour that Ireland abstained from the Herculex vote but perversely voted yes to two other GM products that were on the table for decision..........will check back when I have confirmation

author by Headser54publication date Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In an amazing redefinition of 'GM free' and contrary to Green Party policy, Green Junior Minister Trevor Sargent has now stated GM free is 'not about banning imported GM feed' according to the Irish Independent (Oct 2, 2007)(see below).

However, Green Party Policy on GM feed is very clear in stating 'GM Free':
"would mean that GM seed or crops would not be grown in the island (either as crop 'trials' or commercially), there would be no GM feed for animals and no transgenic farm animals."
see http://www.greenparty.ie/en/policies/gm_food

In addition the Greens' policy is very definitive on GM feed including the following action points

1.1 immediately declare Ireland to be a GM-Free zone and prohibit the use of GM ingredients in animal feed and any testing or growing of GM crops and ban transgenic farm animals;

1.3 establish a GM-Free regulatory authority to ensure that rigorous testing is put in place to verify that animal feed is free of GM inputs;
see http://www.greenparty.ie/en/policies/gm_food/gm_crops_a...olicy

Trevor Sargent's statement also contradicts GM Free Ireland's position who wish "to stop the contamination of Ireland's meat, poultry and dairy produce via animal feed that contains GM ingredients."
http://www.gmfreeireland.org/feed/index.php

SEE EARLIER POSTING ON "Irish Greens serve up fudge on GM food" http://gmoireland.blogspot.com/2007_06_14_archive.html

Minister abstains from GM feed vote
Irish Independent Farming
Maeve Dineen

October 2, 2007

Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan, opted to abstain from last week's crucial vote on GM animal feeds at the EU Council of Ministers in Brussels. Despite the decision, the department said the importation of GM maize by-products and soya meal into Ireland will not be affected. Minister for State, Trevor Sargent, said the decision by Ireland to abstain on the recent

EU Council vote on GM animal feeds is in line with France and Italy, which also abstained. "France and Italy are major buyers of Irish produce. Had Ireland voted 'yes' it would not have affected the outcome of the vote. It is expected the EU Commission will now move quickly to approve the unauthorised GM feed imports. Ireland's abstention is not inconsistent with the commitment in the programme for government to seek to negotiate a GM-free island of Ireland," he said.

He said he accepts the reality that two thirds of raw materials used in Irish compound feed is imported from outside the EU and that 95pc of these products come from EU-authorised GM crops. However, he added that in his view, the Government objective must be to seek to negotiate an island-wide, GM-free zone and it is not about banning imported GM feed.

"It is about not growing GM crops and not proliferating GM pollen, GM seed dispersal and super-weeds in the Irish countryside," he said.

But the IFA reacted furiously to the decision, with president Padraig Walshe accusing the Government of hypocrisy and double standards in failing to support the EU proposal to accept scientifically-approved maize and com gluten for circulation in the EU. He said that the Government was playing politics for the optics, with no consideration for the damage they are doing to Ireland's livestock industy, especially pigmeat and poultry producers.

He said: "The Government is collectively responsible, and I do not accept Fianna Fail passing the buck and blaming the Greens. After all, it was the Taoiseach who brought the Greens into Government with their two seats at Cabinet compared to Fianna Fail's 12.

"I am disgusted with Agriculture Minister, Mary Coughlan's abstention in Wednesday's crucial vote at the EU Council of Ministers in Brussels. The Minister was actively in favour of the EU proposal last June and she had the full support of IFA. This u-turn has damaged Ireland's credibility in Brussels and assurances given by Minster Coughlan last June now count for nothing.

author by Patrick Maloneypublication date Wed Mar 04, 2009 00:07author email patrick at youtractor dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good post, I think you have addressed all the issues I wanted to cover, there is nothing else I can add. Don't know why I am writing this post then, LMAO, PS I have given the post a Digg for you. My blog covers my thoughts in more detail have a look here http://www.youtractor.com/index.php?page=videos§ion...01297

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