Thursday, 27 June 2013
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Genetically Modified Organisms
235. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on trial planting of genetically modified potatoes by Teagasc (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31338/13]
Teagasc operates as a separate non-commercial semi state body under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with their own management structure and governing Authority. The Act establishing Teagasc confers on it principal functions in relation to the provision of education, advisory and research services to the agriculture sector. It is a matter for Teagasc to prioritise activities in the delivery of these services and to allocate its resources in accordance with these priorities. Ministerial responsibility is confined to matters of policy in accordance with the Act and I have no function with regard to the day-to-day operations of Teagasc.
Accordingly, my Department’s sole responsibility with regard to the cultivation of GM crops is in relation to coexistence measures in the event that commercial GM crops are grown alongside conventional crops. With regard to the Teagasc field trials on a genetically modified potato, these trials do not constitute cultivation of a commercial crop. Responsibility for issues relating to the cultivation of genetically modified crops, including GM trials in Ireland, rests with my colleague, Mr. Phil Hogan TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.