Written Answers. - Colorado Beetle.

48.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the specific action he proposes to take to prevent the Colorado beetle from reaching Ireland via imported vegetables or vehicles.

The introduction into this country of Colorado beetle on vegetables, vehicles or in any other way is prohibited under national and EC legislation. The authorities in the exporting country are obliged to ensure that consignments of vegetables are free of Colorado beetle and, during the active period of the beetle from April to October, they must make a specific examination of leafy vegetables. Check inspections of imported vegetables are carried out by officers of my Department at wholesale and retail points of sale. My Department also issues supplies of warning leaflets to the Automobile Association and to commercial ferry companies who pass them on to people taking vehicles abroad.

The Colorado beetle occurs freely in continental Europe and as a consequence some risk of infestation in this country will always exist. My Department will ensure that the phytosanitary regulations are fully enforced but there is also need for continued vigilance by importers and the public.

Increased home production of vegetables is the most effective way to reduce the risk. This objective is being pursued by An Bord Glas.