Written Answers. - Sheep Movement Permits.

Helen Keogh


84 Ms Keogh asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry if his Department will provide advice and assistance to sheep producers in view of confusion regarding the introduction of sheep movement permits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1841/96]

A new system for identification and movement of sheepgoats in the State came into force from 8 January 1996 to meet the requirements of an EU directive on the control of movement of such animals. The objectives of the directive are to facilitate traceback in the event of a disease outbreak and to complement other controls for the purposes of EU premium and headage payments. Failure to implement the directive could have had serious implications for such payments and resulted in disallowance of reimbursement claims by the EU Commission.

Within the constraints of staffing resources, I have arranged for Department staff to provide guidance for an initial period at both marts and factories for implementation of the new system. There was also a publicity campaign undertaken in the farming journals, local papers and the national press where details of a telephone helpline service were provided. Further publicity will be undertaken as required.
I am confident that all these measures will facilitate the introduction of the new identification scheme.