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Ireland divided on stem cells

As the EU decision on stem cells looms, Ireland is a microcosm of the debate

Amanda Haverty(Amandahaverty@eircom.net)

Ireland's support for an EU framework for research on embryonic stem cells has provoked heated debate that continues, even as European ministers are due to cast their vote in coming days.

Despite the controversy, Tanaiste Mary Harney (whose role is similar to a vice president's) is set to vote in favor of the framework as soon as next week (December 3) at the Council of the European Union following approval by the European Parliament.

She is facing opposition from the Catholic Church, pro-life groups, and some parliamentarians, including some from within the government who are strongly opposed to Irish support for the guidance.

However, Irish scientists are coming in on the side of the Tanaiste. John Donovan, chair elect of the Irish Research Scientists Association (IRSA) and a lecturer at the Dublin Institute of Technology, told The Scientist that while the IRSA had not yet established a position on the...

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