asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture if he will make a statement as to the recent landing of a consignment of Irish cattle in a foot-and-mouth affected area in England, what are the powers and functions of his Department to deal with such a situation, and what action was taken by his Department to put matters right in this case.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - LANDING OF IRISH CATTLE IN ENGLAND.
On 5th instant an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was confirmed near Galgate, in Lancashire, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries thereupon declared an area of, roughly, 15 miles from that place to be an infected area, into, out of, or within which the movement of animals became prohibited. The area included the landing-places for Irish animals at Fleetwood and Heysham.
At the time there were no Free State stock in either landing-place a shipment from Dublin to Heysham having been released earlier in the day. Information as to the outbreak and its consequences was telegraphed to the Department in the usual course, but several hours before its receipt a further shipment of 297 animals had taken place from Dublin to Heysham. These animals, when landed became subject to the British restrictions applying in the infected area—that is to say, they could be moved out of the landing-place only for slaughter within the infected area.
The Department at once made representations to the British authorities with a view to the animals being allowed out to farms or private premises, but owing to a further outbreak in the vicinity, and the uncertainty as to the foot-and-mouth disease position of the district, this concession could not be granted until last Tuesday. By an Order issued yesterday, the infected area is reduced as from Monday next so as to exclude both landing-places, and thus to set free the animals still occupying them.
Once a cattle-carrying vessel has been cleared, the Department have no power to recall her, or to direct the landing of her cargo, but in any case the Department had no opportunity of ascertaining whether the owners of the Heysham cattle would be willing to have their animals landed elsewhere, or whether they could be received at another landing-place.