Written Answers - Animal Diseases.

Thursday, 8 December 2005

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 612 No. 15

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  190.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   if she has satisfied herself that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent the importation or spread of avian ’flu or other animal diseases here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38641/05]

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mary Coughlan): Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Department of Agriculture and Food takes a robust attitude to the prevention of the introduction of animal diseases into Ireland, as exemplified by the range of measures being taken to prevent the introduction of avian influenza into the country. The Department has put in place a specific range of measures, including EU and national measures, aimed at minimising [296]any risk of avian influenza being introduced into the country and, in the event of an outbreak, ensuring its early detection and speedy eradication. As migratory wild birds can potentially play a role in spreading the virus, much of the Department’s focus has been on early detection and speedy eradication. The introduction of an “early warning system” and the registration of all holdings and sites on which domestic poultry or captive birds are kept are vital components of the Department’s strategy. All live commercial animals imported into Ireland from an EU member state or a third country must be accompanied by an official health certificate from the competent authority of the exporting country, confirming that the animals have undergone all appropriate tests and have not come from an area affected by an animal disease. Veterinary inspection checks operate at all Ireland’s official border inspection posts to ensure that imports meet physical, documentary and identity requirements. I am satisfied that the range of safeguards and protection measures in place are comprehensive and minimise any possibility of animal disease being introduced here. Such measures are kept under constant review. The Department will not hesitate to introduce any additional measures which are considered appropriate to meet an increased threat of animal disease being introduced.

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