Sinn Féin passed a motion calling for the partial banning of glyphosate at its Ard Fheis last Saturday. The controversial herbicide would still be approved for agricultural and commercial use (like golf courses), but not for domestic or municipal use.

This proposal mirrors the incoming legislation in France. Some see it as a step towards an outright ban, others as the best way of protecting the only available universal herbicide for farm use.

There is a vital EU vote on whether to approve the renewal of glyphosate’s licence this Thursday. This could be the last chance to prevent the lapse of the licence, which expires on 15 December.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has indicated that Ireland will support its renewal.

The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis also heard seven motions relating to country sports such as fox hunting and hare coursing. Some of these called for the banning of coursing and/or hunting, others called for their retention.

Only one of these was voted on, a compromise motion from the Ard Comhairle that “acknowledged the existence of traditional rural occupations”, believes that outright bans would drive these practices underground.

Other motions passed called for equity in the food chain, an easing of rural housing restrictions, and a land policy that discourages wealthy non-farming interests from land purchase.