Ireland Won’t Oppose EU Funding of Embryo Research

DUBLIN, Ireland, SEPT. 19, 2003 ( This republic’s government said it will not oppose a European Union measure allowing Irish taxpayers’ money to fund research on human embryos in other EU states, a newspaper reported.

Ned Costello, a spokesman for the Irish Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment, told the Irish Catholic: “The government has indicated that it is not opposing the current proposal” for embryo research.

EU guidelines allow research on stem cells from “excess” embryos produced by in vitro fertilization before June 2002. Germany, Austria and Italy oppose the guidelines on ethical grounds. If Ireland voted against the guidelines the group would form a blocking minority. If passed, the guidelines would allow embryo research to be funded under a program in effect until 2006.

Dana Rosemary Scallon, a Member of the European Parliament, urged “people to lobby their political representatives to ensure that the Irish government does not support EU funding of research on human embryos.”