Sunday 10 April, 10am-5pm, Dublin Food Coop, 12 New Market Square, Dublin 8
Will Ireland's new government ban GM crops? Will it introduce a GM-free label for farmers and food producers in the quality food market? The GM-free Ireland Network and Food Action invite all stakeholders north and south of the border to participate in this important community discussion about the future of food and farming on this island.
The previous Irish government failed to implement its policy to ban field trials and cultivation of GM crops in the Republic, and to introduce the voluntary GM-free label that farmers and food processors need to compete in the growing international quality food market.
Just before leaving office, Fianna Fáil's Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Brendan Smith, voted in favour of a dangerous EC proposal to allow contamination of the food chain with untested / unapproved GM ingredients. He also claimed that Ireland has changed its policy in favour of new GMOs in food and feed – without a mandate from the current government and the people of Ireland.
The new Fine Gael / Labour government has not declared its hand on the subject. But Fine Gael is very pro-GM. Their MEP Mairéad McGuinness (who is a member of the EU Parliament Agriculture Committee) tried (unsucessfully) to get the Parliament to support the cultivation of GM pharma crops that contaminate the food chain with industrial chemicals, agrofuels, and drugs!
Labour has made contradictory statements on the issue.
The Northern Ireland Assembly has no clear position on the subject – unlike our closest EU Regions Scotland and Wales and Brittany which oppose the cultivation of GM crops.
Meanwhile, unelected bureaucrats at the European Commission continue to rubberstamp approval of new GM seeds, animal feed and food - against the wishes of the vast majority of citizens. And the European Food Safety Authority keeps recommending these approvals based on secret risk assessment data provided by the applicant companies, without possibility of independent peer review - in blatant disregard of the scientific method!
Dr. Brian John, who will speak at the gathering on Sunday, recently convinced MEPs to call for the European Parliament to investigate EFSA for scientific fraud and for its revolving door with the GM chemical companies it is supposed to regulate.
Contamination of the Irish food chain with imported GM animal feed is an impediment to trade that effectively shuts our farmers and food producers out of the rapidly growing GM-free quality food markets in Europe and the USA.
But Fine Gael seems determined to fast-track new GM appprovals and to allow field trials and cultivation of GM crops that would contaminate this island forever.
Concerned stakeholders need to act now to keep the whole of this island off-limits to GM crops, and to develop a voluntary GM-free label that will provide Irish farmers, food producers and tourism operators with a truly unique selling point – the most credible GM-free food brand in Europe.
It is now time to harvest the growing momentum of concern among our citizens. We must protect the clean green reputation of Ireland - the food island!
To facilitate networking and strategy co-ordination between stakeholders in the Republic and Northern Ireland;
To plan a programme of action to:
• focus public attention on GM food and farming issues in public fora and the national media;
• stimulate people's interest in the campaign for a GM-free Ireland;
• arouse their desire to participate;
• provide them with pathways for action;
• build political resistance to the WTO / corporate / Commission push for increasing contamination of the food chain with GMOs;
• lobby the Irish Government, Northern Ireland Assembly, European Commission and EU Parliament for a freeze on GM crops and new GMO approvals;
• secure an all-island ban on GM crops and introduce a voluntary GM-free Irish label that farmers and food processors need to retain access to the international quality food markets.
Confirmed speakers include Darina Allen (Slow Food Ireland), Dr. Brian John (GM-free Cymru), Dr. Ellzabeth Cullen and Juliet Duff (Irish Doctors Environmental Association), Josef Finke (Ballybrado Ltd), Richard Auler (Ladybird Organic Farm).
Who should attend:
Journalists, food writers, farmers, food producers, livestock exporters, policy makers, regulators, scientists, healthcare professionals, retailers, chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, community gardeners, social justice and environmental NGOs, faith-based organisations, educators, students, and concerned consumers.
Download the registration form, complete it, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will provide lunch, and invite attendants to contribute a suggested donation of € 5.
Contact Michael O'Callaghan on + 41 79 948 5491.
Caption: Food is our future: Keep Ireland GM Free