Private Notice Questions. - UK Swine Fever Outbreak.

Tuesday, 27 May 1986

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 367 No. 1

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Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Agriculture if in view of the recent [42] serious outbreak of swine fever in the UK, the origin of which is a Dutch source, he will embargo all imports of meat produced in Holland and the UK.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture (Mr. Connaughton): Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  The importation of live pigs, fresh pigmeat and uncooked pigmeat products from Britain has been suspended following the recent outbreaks there of classical swine fever. Only fully cooked meat products may be imported. As the origin of the disease has not yet been established, there is no question of applying similar measures to imports from Holland.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  Will the Minister not agree that as we are an island with disease-free status it is not in our interest to continue to allow Dutch imports in this case? Our pigmeat industry is valued at £40 million in export terms.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  I am fully aware of the potential damage that an outbreak of swine fever would have anywhere. As I pointed out, only fully cooked meat products may be imported and, as the Deputy is aware, the incidence of swine fever in fully cooked meat is almost nil.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  This disease, known as classical swine fever, is endemic on the Continent. Recently there was in Holland an outbreak of another type of swine fever of African origin. Dutch bacon is imported here in processed form and it is a threat to our bacon and pig industry.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  As I have said, we are keeping a close watch on this. It is very important for this country that we keep out this dreaded disease. I can guarantee to the House that everything possible will be done to monitor the situation in the next few days.

Mr. J. Leonard: Information on James Leonard  Zoom on James Leonard  Will the Minister not agree that we should be restricting the importation of bacon products? We have a disease-free status and we should be [43] developing the industry. A very serious situation has arisen in my constituency in the past week where closures took place and where pig prices have dropped by £3 as a result.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That is another question. Deputy De Rossa and Deputy Ahern have been given permission to put a Private Notice Question to the Minister for Labour.


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