Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
592. Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the measures he is taking in view of the recent increase in brucellosis in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29982/10]
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): I am aware that there has been an increase in the incidence of Brucellosis in certain parts of Northern Ireland, particularly Co Armagh, since the beginning of 2010. However, based on available figures, the number of outbreaks in the province as a whole in the period January to April has fallen from 83 in 2008 to 36 in 2009 and again to 25 this year. Notwithstanding the improvement in the overall situation, DARD has introduced additional testing in the Armagh area and they believe that the situation is now under control. There are on-going contacts between officials from my Department and their counterparts in the Department Agriculture, Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland in connection with the brucellosis situation there. My Department’s DVOs situated in border areas have been requested to carry out a risk assessment of the situation and to draw up plans for additional testing measures if they are required. As Monaghan is geographically most at risk, a comprehensive plan has been put in place involving some additional testing in selected areas and in selected high risk herds in that county. Other border county DVOs are also planning additional testing.
Imports of eligible animals from Northern Ireland are both pre-movement tested before leaving NI and post-movement tested for brucellosis on arrival in the South. Any further controls on imports from Northern Ireland would be contrary to EU legislation on trade in live animals. Nevertheless, my officials will continue to monitor the brucellosis levels in Northern Ireland and will keep in close contact both at local and central level with their colleagues in Northern Ireland.
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