Written answers

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Tuberculosis Eradication Programme

Patricia Ryan (Kildare South, Sinn Fein)
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671. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proposed measures to be enacted under the tuberculosis eradication programme in 2021; the estimated costs of the measures; the level of funding that will be provided from the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43338/20]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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I will shortly launch a new Bovine TB eradication strategy which will be a roadmap to reduce disease levels over the next ten years. I am pleased to say that the draft strategy was broadly welcomed by stakeholders at the most recent meeting of the Bovine TB Stakeholders Forum on 8th December. I would like to thank the members of the Forum for their work in bringing forward proposals to reduce disease levels which form the basis of the strategy.

The proposed measures outlined in the strategy will be developed and deployed over the coming years in consultation with the TB Forum. The strategy is not set in stone and it will be subject to amendment and refinement on an on-going basis. The costs of the various measures therein will be assessed by a financial working group under the auspices of the TB Forum.

The EU has co-funded the TB Eradication Programme since 2008. This funding is provided a year in arrears and relates to the performance of the programme towards the objective of eradication.The Commission has clearly indicated that funding for TB will continue to reduce and is in their bottom priority category for co-funding of veterinary programmes.Therefore, there is an onus on everyone in the sector to reduce TB infection rates as quickly as possible.

Following a meeting in Brussels in late December 2019 between my Department and Commission officials, the Commission approved the 2020 Programme. However, the funding allocation was reduced from an anticipated €7.5m to €5.42m. Based on Programme metrics to date for 2020, my Department is expecting a further funding reduction to be imposed in respect of 2020. This will be subject to decision by the Commission in mid-2021.

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