9 counties: Cavan, Clare, Fermanagh, Kerry, Kildare, Meath, Monaghan, Roscommon and Westmeath,
2 Districts: Newry and Mourne in counties Armagh and Down,
8 cities or towns: Bantry, Bray, Clonakilty, Cork, Derry, Galway, Letterkenny, and Navan and
more than 1,000 smaller areas have declared themselves to be GMO-free zones on the island of Ireland.
Ireland's GMO-free zone policy
In 2007 the Republic of Ireland Government agreed a GM-free policy to “seek to negotiate to declare the island of Ireland as a GMO-free zone”, but the Environment Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly refused to collaborate.
In October 2009, the Irish Government offically adopted a new Programme for Government which promises to "Declare the Republic of Ireland a GM-Free Zone, free from the cultivation of all GM plants", and states "To optimise Ireland's competitive advantage as a GM-Free country, we will introduce a voluntary GM-Free logo for use in all relevant product labelling and advertising, similar to a scheme recently introduced in Germany."
However, the Government failed to implement this policy with any legislation. This was a deliberate strategy of Fianna Fáil (the majority party in that coalition government), which only agreed to the policy in order to form a government with the Green party.
The new Fine Gael / Labour government which came into power in 2011 declared the previous GMO-free policy null and void. In 2012 it allowed the first field trial of GMO crops in Ireland (a GMO potato modified to resist potato blight) since a previous field trial was destroyed by protestors in 1998. The GMO potato experiment is currently ongoing at Teagasc’s Oak Park facility in County Carlow. For info see:http://www.teagasc.ie/news/proposed_gm_potato_research.asp
In 2014, the Irish government voted in favour of the flawed European Commission compromise proposal that would allow individual member states to ban GMO crops subject to many conditions, while opening the doors for widespread cultivation and contamination across the EU. The deal needs approval by the EU Parliament to come into effect. For more info about this see :
“Contamination Matters: Why GM crops can’t be managed at a national level”
(Updated in June 2014: Information provided by GM-FREE IRELAND NETWORK)
GM-free Food Production: A unique selling point for Ireland – the food island:
Video of press conference on the business case for Ireland's GM-free label, with Richard Corrigan (Michelin star chef and TV host), Darina Allen (Slow Food Ireland, Good Food Ireland, Free Choice Consumer Group, Artisan Food Forum, and the Farmers Market movement), Malcolm Thompson (Irish Cattle and Sheepfarmers Association), Evan Doyle (the Taste Council, Organic Trust and Euro-Toques Ireland), Dr. John Fagan (Cert ID), and Michael O'Callaghan (GM-free Ireland). 17 November 2010:
GM-free Irish label good for business: Added value, increased market share, better branding and unique selling point: the most credible GM-free food brand in Europe.
GM-free Ireland Network press release, 17 November 2009
GM-free production: a unique selling point for Ireland - the food island.
47-page briefing with GM-free market survey, 17 Nov. 2009 (1.2MB pdf)
Lucern, April 2009
Michael O'Callaghan, GMO-free Ireland
Presentation: Ireland as GMO-free Biosafety reserve for Europe (pdf, 2,1 MB, English)
Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2001 , S.I. No. 73 of 2001
Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations, 2001 (S.I. No. 73 of 2001)
Genetically Modified Organisms Regulations, 1994 (S.I. No. 345 of 1994)
Legislation on contained use of GMOs, 2001
Legislation on deliberate release of GMOs, 2003
Environmental protection Agency: Annual Reporting for GMO/GMM Contained use activities
Department of Agriculture and Food: Coexistence of GM and non-GM Crops in Ireland, 2005
GMO-free zones in Ireland
Ireland's policy on "co-existence" of GM crops
2,546 tonnes of prohibited Bt10 maize unloaded at Irish port (GM-Free Ireland)
One thousand GMO-Free Zones were declared throughout the island of Ireland during Earth Day 2005 by farmers, food producers, hotels, restaurants, markets, pubs, retailers, and homes North and South of the border.
US Department of Agriculture: Annual Agricultural Biotech Report