Ireland declared free of brucellosis
Ireland has been declared free of brucellosis, following approval by the EU Commission of an application by the Irish Government.
Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith confirmed the move this afternoon and described it as "a landmark in the history of disease eradication in Ireland".
The Department of Agriculture will now embark on a controlled reduction of the brucellosis eradication programme.
The Minister said that he was very conscious that the disease had brought considerable distress to the farming community and, in particular, individual farmers.
Mr Smith said: "Despite today's very welcome development, there was no room for complacency. It is essential that farmers continue to adopt appropriate replacement policies and effective bio-security measures."
"The attainment of official brucellosis free status is a major achievement. Ireland must continue to build on its high animal health status, with benefits for all concerned, in terms of on-farm costs, Exchequer contribution, public health and international reputation," the Minister added.
Jonathan Cooney who is president of the Veterinary Officers Association which represents vets in the Department of Agriculture, said “this landmark achievement will further enhance Ireland’s enviable animal health status internationally”.
“Ireland’s reputation as a country which is fully committed to continual improvements in animal health and welfare standards remains an important asset, which we must protect and build on,” he said.
Michael F Sexton, president of Veterinary Ireland, which represents vets in practice said: "Many vets and farmers in particular suffered significantly with brucellosis in past decades and it is greatly welcomed by the veterinary profession that this debilitating disease is no longer the hazard that it once was."