Trials for genetically modified potatoes in Co Meath will ruin agriculture in the area, it was claimed today.
Farmers, food producers and consumers held a demo outside the Dáil against the proposed five-year BASF Plant Science project in Summerhill.
The picket called for the Government to ban genetically modified (GM) crops in Ireland.
Today is the deadline set by the Environmental Protection Agency for public submissions on the proposal which will be sited near the Hill of Tara in the Boyne Valley.
The experiment is due to begin in April and continue until October 2010.
John Flynn, rural development chairman of the Irish Cattle and Sheepfarmers Association (ICSA) said today: “Ireland has a very marketable clean, green image, and it is essential to maintain and develop that.
“Trials like this are totally counterproductive, and very damaging to that image.
“The ICSA will never allow huge commercial interests like BASF to come into Ireland and ruin the agricultural sector.”
Canadian expert Prof Joe Cummins claims the GM experiment presents a clear risk of contaminating conventional and organic Irish potatoes.
“The people and wildlife of Ireland should not be exposed to inadequately tested genetic constructions,” said the Emeritus Professor of Genetics at the University of Western Ontario.
Prof Cummins accused BASF of making specious assumptions that could also produce toxic effects on humans and wildlife.