Written Answers. - Flock Depopulation.

Michael Ring

Question:

95 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when an appeal will be finalised for persons (details supplied) in County Mayo. [15126/02]

In general, the owners of sheep flocks which were depopulated as a result of scrapie prior to Christmas 2001 have been paid compensation on the basis of an agreement reached at that time between my Department and the IFA, representing farmers concerned. My Department prioritised the depopulation of early lambing flocks, in order to avoid imposing additional labour, veterinary and other costs on the farmers concerned and to minimise any potential animal welfare problems. These flocks were depopulated on the basis of a compensation package which was clearly agreed, understood and accepted by all concerned.

In relation to flocks whose depopulation was delayed until the new year, the IFA then made the case that lambs which were born in the spring of the previous year were commonly understood to be hoggets and should attract a price commensurate with this status. The Department accepted that the IFA and the flock owners concerned had an arguable case, on the very clear and explicit understanding that this arrangement applied only to flocks which were not depopulated until 2002, and would not apply retrospectively to flocks slaughtered prior to Christmas 2001. In these circumstances I regret that there is no prospect of a revision of this aspect of the compensation package agreed with the IFA. The flock owner referred to was informed of this decision by telephone and in writing.