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An Taoiseach speaking in the Dail on Foot and Mouth Disease

 

In the last half hour Ceann Comhairle, the Minister of Agriculture received the overnight tests from Perbright. I'd like to inform the House that the results of two of the samples taken from a flock in County Louth proved positive for Foot and Mouth Disease. This is a major disappointment given the intensity of the efforts by all sectors of society to keep the disease out of Ireland. It is a secondary outbreak in the same exclusion zone just south of the Border in Jenkinstown. The new outer exclusion zone has already been set up last evening. A number of other issues already directly arise.

What I would like Ceann Comhairle, subject to the agreement and the cooperation of the opposition, that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development would make a full statement to the House as soon as possible, perhaps 11 O'Clock or 11.15. If it was possible, with the agreement of the House if the opposition spokespersons directly involved in Agriculture, Food and Rural Development would also make a statement with some question and answer. But I would ask that the Minister could be released from the House as soon as possible thereafter. We have to prepare our case immediately for the Vetinerary Committee, which will meet in the morning on just how this is handled on a national level. We also have to look at issues in relation to sheep on the Cooley mountains and we have to also look at the other farms in the area and of course other matters arise. The professional group will also be meeting in the next number of hours to issue their deliberations on how we handle this at a national level.

Unfortunately this is very disappointing Ceann Comhairle, but I'd ask the House for their cooperation in the matter. So, its not in my Order of Business but perhaps with the cooperation, it would I think be better if the Minister made a statement here and the opposition made its statements here as quickly as possible so that the public outside will be aware of how we intend to handle these matters.