About #gmpotato

The GM potato trials at Oak Park

In July 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Ireland granted a licence to Teagasc, the Irish agriculture and food development authority, to begin field trials of a potato variety, Desiree, which is genetically modified (GM) for improved resistance to late potato blight (Phytophthora infestans). Teagasc will carry out these trials on land around its research site in Oak Park, Carlow in Autumn 2012. This is part of a three-year international European Commission Framework Seven project, and the EPA licence is subject to strict scientific conditions, and regular monitoring and reporting to the EPA. See the EPA website for more details.

The #gmpotato Community of Inquiry project

A random sample of the public were invited to participate in a face-to-face deliberation process with our expert presenters, each of whom are represented here in YouTube videos. The meeting worked like a ‘citizens’ jury’ – the members of the public are the ‘jurors’, while the expert presenters are the ‘witnesses’. Celsius, the research team co-ordinating the project, facilitated and monitored points of view coming from the deliberative process itself and from traditional and online media.

The jury’s  ‘verdict’ is given here, more information on the Community of Inquiry is available here.

Aims of the #gmpotato Community of Inquiry project

• To facilitate public debate and dialogue between stakeholders involved in both the proposal of, and resistance to, the GM potato, as well as the wider public.
• To allow a process of dialogue that will inform policy and regulation on genetically modified organisms and future farming practice in Ireland.
• To use the latest in communication research and practice in deliberative, democratic processes enabling public response to controversial technologies

VIDEOS: The ‘witness’ perspectives on GM
1. The local tillage farmer (Derek Deane)
2. The advocate against GM foods (Stella Coffey)
3. The expert in technology and public policy (Paidi O’Reilly)
4. The potato trial scientist (Ewen Mullins)
5. The social justice advocate (Rose Kelly)