- 17 September 2012
The study is looking at the impact of the GM potatoes on the soil, particularly on its bacterial, fungal and earthworm diversity. The site contains six short drills of potatoes, on a plot of about 10m2. The area is surrounded by a fence, but only an ordinary one, not high security. The reason for this is not just to keep the costs down, as Dr Mullins points out, "it also instils an unnecessary fear element about the study," he said.
There are contingency plans in place anyway, so that if the crop is vandalised it will be replaced straight away. Dr Mullins is quite pragmatic about it. "If it happens, it happens," he said.
Last week, Teagasc was criticised for planting the potatoes before a three-month judicial review period had elapsed. Dr Mullins said he realised the planting of the potatoes had caused upset for some people but the licence conditions had been strictly adhered to.