With the Greens Gone, Ireland Backs E.U. Liberalization of GM Crops

Dan is a deputy news editor for Science.

With its former coalition partners in the Green Party out of the way—for the time being—Ireland's ruling Fianna Fáil Party has announced that it is reversing the country's voting stance on a key European Union decision that will remove a ban on the use of genetically modified crops for human consumption, animal feeds, and food ingredients. The lame duck government is taking advantage of the month-long hiatus between the collapse of its ruling coalition late last month and the general election slated for 25 February.

When in coalition with the Greens, Fianna Fáil promised to make Ireland a GM-free zone, but was slow acting on that promise. Now that the Greens have withdrawn from the coalition, the government is hoping that a change in E.U. policy will allow Irish cattle farmers to import cheaper feeds that include GM soy and maize byproducts. The government's change in policy, so close to a general election, is bound to be controversial.