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Minister Coughlan announces discontinuation of disinfection points at ports and airports

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced that disinfection points at ports and airports, introduced in the immediate aftermath of last month's outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain, are being discontinued with effect from tomorrow, Saturday 8th September.

Minister Coughlan has decided that the disinfection points could now be lifted following confirmation by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the UK that the 10km Surveillance Zone was being lifted on 8 September. She said that the lifting of the Surveillance Zone and the discontinuation of the need for disinfection at Irish ports and airports was a further indication of a return to normality following last month's outbreak. The Minister confirmed that, following consultation between her Department and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), similar disinfection points at ports and airports in Northern Ireland were also being discontinued with effect from 8th September.

The Minister said that the additional veterinary certification requirements for animals and their products being exported from the UK would remain in place until such time as the Commission Decision currently in place is revoked. This is expected to be on 15th September but may come some days earlier.

Minister Coughlan noted the publication today in Britain of two official reports into the outbreak and its source and the steps which DEFRA are undertaking in response to the recommendations. She said that DEFRA and DARD and their respective Ministers had been very helpful in keeping her and her Department up-to-date with developments, particularly during the days immediately following confirmation of foot-and-mouth, and said that this level of communication had greatly assisting her and her Department in reacting promptly and appropriately to the developing situation in Britain.

In conclusion, the Minister reiterated the importance to farmers of the need to maintain high standards of biosecurity.

7 September, 2007

Date Released: 07 September 2007