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Ferris and Gildernew welcome cross border co-operation on Avian Flu

27 October, 2005

The Sinn Féin Spokespersons on Agriculture and Rural Development, Martin Ferris TD, and Michelle Gildernew MP have welcomed the fact that Agriculture officials on both sides of the border have met to discuss their response to any possible threat from Avian Flu.

Deputy Ferris: "In a response to a question of mine, Minister Coughlan has said that officials have met and will continue to meet to discuss their positions on any possible threat posed by this disease. I welcome that, but am slightly concerned that such contact has been described as "informal" and that the Minister refers to their "respective positions". Any co-operation is much to be encouraged, but it would be preferable if a formal group was established with a joint contingency plan."

Ms Gildernew also welcomed the response. "As was proven during the Foot and Mouth crisis, the border means nothing. Any threat from this disease will not recognise the border so it is crucial that there is a common approach. I would therefore like to reiterate Martin Ferris' call for such co-operation to be placed on a formal and ongoing basis". ENDS

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