Gildernew updates Executive on FMD
Sinn Féin Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in the Six Counties, Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA, has today updated the Executive on her actions following yesterday's confirmation of Foot and Mouth Disease in Britain.
During the meeting, the Minister emphasised that she had taken immediate precautionary actions to protect the industry here from this outbreak, which mirrored the preventive measures taken when the outbreak was first confirmed in Britain on 3 August.
The Minister outlined how she took the decision, in view of the strong suspicion of disease in England, to close the ports again to live susceptible animals and prohibit imports from Britain of fresh meat from susceptible animals, unpasteurised milk and a range of other animal-derived products such as hides and skins.
Speaking after the meeting with the Executive, the Minister stated that:
"I am grateful for the on-going support from the First Minister and deputy First Minister and from my other Executive colleagues. I was grateful for the opportunity to update them on the situation.
"Preliminary indications are that it is the same strain as the two cases that occurred in August, and as a result this is being considered day 41 and infected premises three of the original outbreak.
"I will continue to do everything possible to ensure that disease does not spread to the North of Ireland. Following my immediate pre-emptive actions yesterday, my officials have traced over 70 consignments of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs which had been imported directly from Britain since 23 August and clinical inspections of these are underway. We believe that none of the consignments have come from the Surrey area.
"My Department has contacted all Agri-Food stakeholders including farming organisations, retailers and processors to advise them of the latest developments. We are also providing them with contact points within the department and ask that they advise us of any problems that they may be experiencing.
"Revised trade information has also been issued and I am pleased that initial feedback from retailers has been positive.
"We continue to monitor the position in Britain closely and keep the position under review."
The Assembly Agriculture and Rural Development Committee will be receiving an update on the situation later this afternoon.