15 March 2001 Edition

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``If in doubt come forward'' urges Ó Caoláin

The Foot and Mouth crisis

Commenting on the latest Foot and Mouth scare in County Tyrone, close to the border with County Monaghan, Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

``Even the fear of Foot and Mouth at Augher, Co. Tyrone is a very serious development. It is essential that all measures to contain this disease are maintained with renewed vigilance and that full cooperation is given to the agricultural authorities by the public on both sides of the Border.

``I commend the responsibility and public spirit of those who have come forward to the agricultural authorities to advise of the uncertain past of some of their own flock, in the full knowledge of the consequences. In one such case in south Co. Monaghan a sheep farmer came forward and, as a precautionary measure, accepted and cooperated in the destruction of his flock. While this action was both courageous and commendable, it is an example of the responsible behaviour we must expect and demand from all engaged in the movement and care of livestock.

``Farmers, dealers, hauliers or meat factory proprietors must come forward immediately if they have any doubt whatsoever about the origin of animals that are or have been in their care. There can be no toleration of those who know of real risk or worse and who fail to report what they know, fear or suspect. A very small minority of people have been responsible for the spread of this disease to Ireland. If it is not to spread then these people must come clean now and reveal any information they have which may help to contain the risk.

``I also call on the Irish government to raise at EU level the abysmal response of the British authorities to this crisis which has now spread to the Continent. The British government should be required to compensate its neighbours, as well as its own hard-hit farming sector.''

An Phoblacht
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