The Green Party is calling on the Galway City Council to follow the lead of Dublin City Council, which has recently announced a trial of alternatives to glyphosates, a herbicide over which there are health and environmental concerns.
The call follows, not only the move by Dublin City Council, but also a recent court case in the USA where agritech company Monsanto has been ordered to pay more than $289 million to a school groundsman who said the company’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused his cancer. Monsanto has announced plans to appeal the court’s decision.
France's environment minister Nicolas Hulot described the verdict as the "beginning of a war" against glyphosate in Europe. "If we wait, such poisons will not be prevented from doing their damage and the victims will be excessively numerous," he said.
Italy is also moving towards a phase-out of the chemical, while Germany aims to end use of glyphosate within the next three years. In the US, Environmental Protection Agency in 2017 concluded a decades-long assessment of glyphosate risks and found the chemical unlikely carcinogenic to humans. However, the cancer unit of the World Health Organization in 2015 classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans".
The Green Party candidate for Galway West, Pauline O’Reilly, has called on City Hall to "re-evaluate its use of glyphosates as weed control" in light of the judgment against Monsanto. “Our public spaces are no place for toxic chemicals," she said. "Our children deserve to play in parks and gardens without being exposed to dangerous cancer causing chemicals, and we must protect council workers from occupational exposure to carcinogens which could make them sick.”