I am pleased that the proposed European Commission restriction on neonicotinoid pesticides aimed at protecting EU bee populations will come into force in the coming years, following an April 2013 decision. However, I was less impressed with the Irish Government's decision to abstain from supporting the ban.
I have collaborated with a number of Irish beekeeping associations over the years in order to ensure that I have the best available information at my disposal when MEPs are voting on EU laws pertaining to honeybee health and sustainability, and having read the EU legislation and discussed it with these experts, there seems to be a compelling body of evidence supporting the Commission's proposed ban.
In January of this year, I co-signed with over 80 fellow MEPs a letter calling on the Commission to fully apply the precautionary principle and totally ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides in the EU, so that no bee species will be affected by the use of imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin.
I view this as an important step to show that EU Member States are serious about honeybee health and the enormous value it provides to European agriculture, biodiversity and sustainability.