Teagasc - The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority yesterday announced its intention to apply to the Environmental Protection Agency for a licence to test GM potatoes for their resistence to blight. This should come as no surprise to those who have been monitoring Teagasc's alarmingly pro-GM stance in recent years. They are responsible for the cunningly titled website http://www.gmoinfo.ie/ (thereby ensuring ease of access through search engines for anyone using the terms 'GMO in Ireland'). It claims to be a resource which aims to 'support your understanding of the issues associated with GM crop cultivation' but scratch the surface and it is an unapologetic propaganda site for genetically modified crops.
This appears to be the latest step in the Irish government's recent campaign to reverse the 2009 ban on the growth of GMO crops and the commitment of the previous Fianna Fáil/Green Party coalition to preserve Ireland's status as a 'GMO-free country'. Early in 2011, two weeks before leaving office, in a craven sleight of hand, Fianna Fáil Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith announced that Ireland would now support EU proposals to introduce GMO products into the foodchain.
In December 2011, Fine Gael Ministe for Agriculture Simon Coveney highlighted the fact that GMO products had been effectively sneaked into the Irish diet through animal feed for years, and emphasised the importance of a wider public understanding of the role which GMO food played in Irish agriculture. This may have been merely a prelude to this latest police action by Teagasc - an attempt to foster apathy and acceptance in the public.
This action by Teagasc is the boldest move yet by an Irish government body to foist this untested and potentially dangerous product of Frankenstein science onto an unwilling public. In their press release, they even cynically envoke the Irish Famine as a valid reason for embarking on the trial:
"After decimating the Irish potato crop in the 1840s and sparking the Great Famine, the organism (Phytophthora infestans) which causes late blight disease remains a very real threat to Irish potato growers. As new, more aggressive strains of the pathogen have arrived in Ireland over the last 4 years, farmers have had to adapt by increasing the amount of fungicides applied but this is not sustainable; especially in light of new EU laws designed to reduce the amount of chemicals that are applied on our crops."
This is an emotional ploy, similar to the unconscionable claim that GMO foods will feed the starving of the world. The Irish Famine was caused in part by an enforced monoculture and deliberate destruction of biodiversity and food culture. Wherever the disastrous experiment that is genetically modified food has been attempted, a similar destruction of biodiversity and enforced monism of agriculture has followed.
The horrors of GMO have been most clearly demonstrated in India, among which is the recent epidemic of suicides among farmers due to the devastation done to their lives and traditional farming methods by globalization and the imposition of GMO. The damage being done by genetic engineering in agriculture has been courageously brought to light by the pioneering work of campaigner Dr. Vandana Shiva.
With this attempt to introduce genetically modified potatoes to Ireland, it appears that Teagasc, hand in hand with the GM lobby is taking the most brazen and deliberate step to enslave our farmers to Monsanto and other giants of genetic engineering.