Dáil Éireann - Volume 490 - 23 April, 1998

Written Answers - Bovine Disease Eradication.

28. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he has satisfied himself with the bovine TB eradication programme; the success of the scheme to date; the total costs involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9390/98]

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): The revised arrangements which were introduced from 1 April 1996 continued to operate in 1996 and 1997 when the number of reactors per 1,000 animals tested was 3 and 2.9 respectively compared with 3.3 in 1995. The 1998 programme is now under way and is proceeding satisfactorily.

The emphasis continues to be on efficient management of the eradication programme, with complete and orderly rounds of testing designed to make inroads in the residual disease incidence level.

Research projects, including the specialised work of the TB investigation unit, are continuing with the aim of providing new technologies required to eradicate TB. This research is focused on the role of the badger as well as establishing the best possible information on the causes of the disease spread.

The total net cost to the Exchequer, including administrative costs, of the TB and brucellosis eradication schemes to the end of 1997 was £730.1 million.