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EU Restriction procedures on cattle imports must be reviewed - Sinn Féin

18 February, 2008

Commenting on the detection of Bluetongue disease in Ireland for the first time following routine post-import testing undertaken by the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sinn Fein MEP's Bairbre de Brún and Mary Lou Mc Donald have renewed their call for the EU to immediately review its procedures on cattle import restrictions.

Bairbre de Brún MEP said;

"Ireland, more than any other area in Europe, without land borders and situated in the most westerly area of Europe, is in a unique position to remain bluetongue free. We need to do all we can to ensure that the island remains free of any bluetongue outbreak.

"We would like to re-iterate the call from the Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew to plead with farmers not to import livestock at present from bluetongue affected areas while doubt remains about the robust nature of the controls in place. Last week's experience should act as a wake up call and lead to greater vigilance all round."

Mary Lou Mc Donald MEP said:

"The fact that bluetongue was detected during a routine post import inspection is a cause of concern for the farming community and to the general public. I believe there must be a change to the EU restrictions currently in place on cattle imports from bluetongue virus zones.

"As Irish MEPs we are calling for the EU to immediately review its procedures on cattle import restrictions that are in place to ensure that they are sufficient to prevent further bluetongue from arriving on the island of Ireland." Críoch

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