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Minister Smith announces Water Chlorination Grant Scheme

Mr. Brendan Smith T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, today announced the introduction of a grant scheme for the installation of water chlorination facilities by poultry flockowners.

The grant scheme, which will commence on 1 February 2007, will be available to those poultry flockowners who have in excess of 350 birds and are registered in the poultry register maintained by the Department of Agriculture and Food. All the necessary works will have to be completed by 31 August 2007 and completed grant application forms, accompanied by the relevant documentation, must be submitted to the Department by 31 October 2007. The level of grant aid available will be up to 70 per cent of the qualifying costs, subject to a limit of €4,000 (excl. VAT) per poultry site.

Minister Smith said that the purpose of the grant scheme is to encourage the installation of chlorination facilities in those poultry units where the water supply is sourced from local surface water sources, e.g. rivers and lakes. The measure is designed to protect against the introduction of avian 'flu into commercial poultry units through the use of untreated or inadequately treated water.

Minister Smith said that "the measure is being introduced following a recommendation made the Avian Influenza Expert Advisory Group, appointed by the Minister for Agriculture and Food, and while the current threat to Ireland is low, we cannot afford to be complacent and must ensure continued vigilance at all times."

Minister Smith described the treatment of the water supply for use by poultry as "a very practical measure" and said that the grant scheme being announced today was "indicative of the Department's proactive approach to ensure that the Irish poultry and egg industries were as well prepared as they could be to deal with any case or outbreak of avian flu in the country".

Moreover, installation will also help to protect flockowners' entitlements to compensation should flocks have to be slaughtered in the event of an outbreak of avian flu.

Minister Smith confirmed that his Department would be writing individually to all eligible poultry flockowners who had registered with the Department while full details of the scheme, including the terms and conditions and the minimum specifications of the facilities to be installed, are available

(i) on the avian 'flu section of the Department's website at www.agriculture.gov.ie

(ii) by e-mail at chlorinationgrants@agriculture.gov.ie

(iii) in writing or by telephone to the Water Chlorination Grant Scheme Section, Animal Health Division, Department of Agriculture and Food, 4W, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 - 1890 252 556, or

(iv) at any of the Department's local offices or any Teagasc office.

Minister Smith strongly urged all eligible flockowners who were using untreated water supplies to install the necessary facilities and avail of the grant assistance available.

31 January 2007

Date Released: 31 January 2007