MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan has said that Ireland should not face the same cuts in pesticide use as countries which use more pesticides.

The MEP was clear in saying that pesticides need to be used carefully and efficiently. She added that funds need to be provided to incentivise improved use of plant protection products.

Commenting on the use of pesticides in sensitive areas, she stated that stopping the use of pesticides entirely in sensitive areas should be carefully considered.

The Irish Farmers Journal met with the Green Party representative last week in Brussels, where she discussed the sustainable use of pesticides regulation and later issued a statement.

Biodiversity loss

"As we still face worsening biodiversity loss, degrading soil quality and increased cancer risks from pesticides, I welcome the Commission's commitment to strengthening the sustainable use of plant protection products legislation.

“However, as it stands, it is clear that some countries with more existing tillage farming and viniculture are currently much more dependent on plant protection products than Ireland is.

"With that in mind, we need to ensure that the member state targets for pesticide reduction reflect that imbalance and that Irish tillage farmers aren't inadvertently punished for their historically low pesticide use.

"As with the nature restoration law, we need significant supports from EU and national funds in order to incentivise improved plant protection product use."

Sensitive areas

Speaking on sensitive areas, O’Sullivan commented: "We will have to make sure the designation of sensitive areas, where pesticide use is to be stopped entirely, is carefully considered.

“However, I am constantly baffled by the amount of reports I get of the widespread use of herbicides such as glyphosate, which we know to be harmful to humans, in playgrounds, parks, even around hospitals with no precautions for human safety.

"The failure to properly implement successive EU directives in this regard means that the Commission must increase pressure on member states to comply with the full strength of an EU regulation.”