Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Animal Health Ireland Strategic Plan 2015 to 2017: Discussion
I welcome everyone here today.
Many farmers have seen tremendous benefits over the last number of years from the work Animal Health Ireland, AHI, has been doing, and the BVD eradication programme has really made huge advances. Much of it has been said already but we need to see when we can expect to have some conclusion on that. Deputy Cahill said many vaccinations have been used on many farms for many years. Is there any possibility of some of those becoming defunct or coming to a stage where they are no longer going to be able to provide the cover they do? I live in a Border area and I am very conscious of the trade that crosses the Border, not just in animals but in foodstuffs and everything else. We need some kind of an all-Ireland status. We need an all-Ireland animal health organisation that could work seamlessly together to ensure that we can try to move things forward. I would be interested to know the views on that.
One advantage we have is the network of veterinary laboratories across the country, which has been very useful and has provided a great advantage and service to many farmers. There is one near me in Sligo. I am concerned to hear there may be some rationalisation of that or a change whereby some of them may close or may move to one or two central locations. A lot of people in the farming community and other places would be very concerned about that because it would mean that an animal that needed to go to a laboratory somewhere for tests would have to travel across the whole country. That brings to mind foot and mouth and all that. The current system is working well, has stood the test of time and should be kept in place. I would be interested in the witnesses' views on that.