Press Release

Emergency meeting on Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Session: 2007/2008

Date: Friday, 14 September 2007

Reference: AGR 09/07

The Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development met yesterday in an emergency meeting to consider the latest outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).

Senior Departmental officials updated the Committee extensively on the latest outbreak, confirming that all seventy imports of live animals from Great Britain since 23 August 2007, when imports resumed, had been traced and declared free from FMD .The Committee recorded its satisfaction at the action taken to date.

In particular, they recognised the importance of the continued derogation secured in Brussels that has allowed our exports to continue.

Dr William McCrea MP, chairperson of the Committee, said:-

“The Committee unanimously agreed to this emergency meeting in recognition of the serious threat that the agricultural industry faces. We believed that the worst was over and were looking forward to re-establishing normal trading but this shows that we cannot relax our guard.

“There is nothing to be gained from speculating at this time about how this latest outbreak occurred – we are already studying extensive reports into the Pirbright incident and are waiting for the receipt of further information.

“Everyone has to be commended for their efforts in keeping Foot -and -Mouth disease out of Northern Ireland and we must focus on maintaining vital business links with Europe and the rest of the world.

“Once again the message needs to go out loud and clear that Northern Ireland is disease free and that the quality of our produce is as good as ever. This Committee will do whatever is needed to ensure that this message is heard.”

Notes to Editors:

Committee Membership:
Dr William McCrea MP, Chairperson
Tom Elliott, Deputy Chairperson
P.J. Bradley
Allan Bresland
Thomas Burns
Trevor Clarke
Willie Clarke
William Irwin
Gerry McHugh
Francie Molloy
George Savage

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