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Coughlan revokes Avian 'Flu measure

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced the revocation of a precautionary ban on the participation of poultry imported from Great Britain in bird gatherings in Ireland.

The ban, which was introduced on 25 May, in the immediate aftermath of the confirmation of an outbreak of low pathogenic H7N2 avian 'flu near Corwen, north Wales, mirrored a similar measure adopted in Northern Ireland, which reflected the all-island approach to the threat of an outbreak of avian 'flu on the island of Ireland.

Today's decision follows the revocation of a ban in Britain on gatherings of ducks and chickens introduced following the outbreak in Wales. The Minister confirmed that her decision was taken after consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland, which also confirmed the revocation of its ban today.

During the period the ban was in place, the Department of Agriculture and Food maintained very close contact with DARD and the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Britain, particularly in relation to the possibility that poultry purchased at a market in Cumbria on 7 May, which had a connection to the H7N2 outbreak, might have been imported to Ireland. From enquiries made, no connections were established between the Cumbria market and the importation of poultry to Ireland.

Minister Coughlan said that, on the basis of information from DARD and Defra and the passage of time since the market in Cheshire, she was satisfied that the Welsh outbreak of low pathogenic H7N2 avian 'flu "no longer posed a threat of the introduction of the virus to Ireland and that any risk of an outbreak of avian 'flu in Ireland remained low." The Minister concluded that it was appropriate that the precautionary ban now be lifted and said that her officials would continue to work closely with colleagues in Belfast, London and Brussels and would maintain the all-island approach which has worked so effectively to date.

5 June, 2007

Date Released: 05 June 2007