asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries whether he will consider including Louth in the brucellosis eradication scheme clearance area in view of the large number of cattle exported across the Border from this area.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Brucellosis Eradication.
I have the position of County Louth very much in mind and it will be included for eradication measures as soon as it can be fitted into the general pattern of the eradication scheme.
I appreciate the Minister's difficulty but he will bear in mind that Louth is in a very special situation in that it is, I think, the only Border county which is not in the eradication scheme. As a result of the regulations made in Northern Ireland, which prevents them from exporting cattle from any area not included in the scheme, this is creating a special problem for Louth. However, if the Minister says his next extension will in all likelihood include Louth, that is I think a reasonable arrangement. Could the Minister say if that is so?
As soon as it can be accommodated it will be included. However, I think it is only fair to say something further when I have the opportunity today. The returns for 1967, for which we have full figures, indicate that, out of the total number of animals moving from Border counties, only 4,600 would have come under the restrictions imposed by the brucellosis eradication schemes in the Six Counties. Of the 4,600 animals which would be subject to those restrictions our information is that by far the greater proportion came from and through the other five Border counties. Therefore, in the case of Louth we are dealing with a figure which is relatively small and it is not quite as big a problem as at first sight it might appear to be. Nevertheless, my intention is to bring it in within the eradication programme as soon as possible.
While what the Minister says may be true, I am getting representations from Louth. It is a local problem which impinges heavily, perhaps, on individuals.
I quite agree with that.