…but beet trials get go-ahead

30 May 1997

…but beet trials get go-ahead

FIELD trials of genetically modified sugar beet are to go ahead in Ireland after the High Court lifted a temporary injunction.

The injunction, granted to a member of the campaign group, Genetic Concern, prevented Monsanto from sowing trial plots of GM beet, tolerant to the herbicide Roundup, on government-owned land.

But the Irish High Court this week lifted the temporary restraining order allowing the trial to go ahead at a site in Co Carlow.

Genetic Concern has, however, been given leave to seek a judicial review of the Irish Environmental Protection Agencys decision to grant Monsanto a licence to conduct the trials.

Sydney Reid, business manager of Monsanto, Ireland said the beet plants "offer very significant benefits for the environment and for all our consumers who care about it".

Objectors fear the introduction of GM plants will harm the environment through increased herbicide use and the transfer of herbicide tolerance to weeds.

But David McConnell, professor of genetics, Trinity College, Dublin, is supportive of Monsantos case. "I believe that these trials pose no significant risks to people, animals, plants or the environment, either in the long or short term," he said.

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