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Minister Coughlan responds to Foot and Mouth outbreak in Great Britain

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, this evening spoke of the controls that her Department is putting in place following confirmation of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Surrey, England.

Minister Coughlan confirmed that her officials have already met to review the situation and she has agreed an appropriate set of measures to respond to this development. She has fully briefed the Taoiseach on the situation. The British Government has put in place the required control measures, including a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone around the infected premises. In addition, an immediate 'standstill' on the movement of susceptible animals (cattle, sheep, pigs and goats) throughout GB is being put in place. The effect of this will include an immediate ban on the exportation from GB of all such live animals. A ban is being put in place on the import to this country of all live animals, fresh meat and non-pasteurised milk from GB and, as a consequence of the GB standstill, live animals will be prevented from travelling to GB from Ireland.

The Minister also confirmed that her Department had been in touch this evening with a number of agencies on whose assistance the Department may rely in applying various control measures, including An Garda Síochana, the Defence Forces and the Civil Defence. Minister Coughlan also said that her Department was maintaining close contact with the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in London and, particularly, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland. The Minister said that she and her officials would maintain close contact with their colleagues in Northern Ireland with a view to taking an all-island approach to the current threat which would involve increased controls between GB and Northern Ireland.

As an immediate measure, ports and airports are being alerted to put in place the necessary precautionary measures. Minister Coughlan said that her Department would draw on the experience gained during the outbreak in 2001.

3 August 2007

Date Released: 03 August 2007