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Coughlan announces lifting of all EIA Restrictions

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today confirmed that the last premises restrictions, imposed as a result of last year's outbreak of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA), are being lifted following the lapse of more than 90 days since the last of 28 cases was confirmed on 10 December 2006.

Minister Coughlan confirmed that the final blood samples had been taken from those horses which remained under movement restriction and all test results had been negative for EIA. The Minister said that, since the first cases had been confirmed on 15 June 2006, almost 57,000 blood samples had been analysed for EIA with 28 eight cases having been confirmed. In this regard, the Minister expressed her appreciation to the Irish Equine Centre and her Department's Central Veterinary Research Laboratory for their excellent work in analysing such a volume of samples.

The Minister described the last nine months as "a very difficult period for the Irish bloodstock industry".

At a meeting in Dublin today with representatives of the industry, she paid tribute to the industry for the willing manner in which they had worked with and in support of her Department's efforts and said that "the efficient way in which this outbreak had been managed and eradicated reflected very well on all those involved and demonstrated the absolute necessity of Government and industry working closely together in one another's mutual interest".

Minister Coughlan said that the threat of EIA required a robust and professional response and despite the obvious inconvenience experienced by some horse owners and trainers and stud managers, the industry appreciated the necessity of the Department's actions which she said were central to the effective manner in which this outbreak was contained and eradicated.

The Minister concluded by saying that "despite the obvious sense of relief being felt in the wake of the final restrictions being lifted, the events of last year demonstrated the continuing need for her Department, the industry and the veterinary profession to maintain a high level of vigilance in relation to EIA".

21 March, 2007

Date Released: 21 March 2007