Dáil Éireann - Volume 543 - 06 November, 2001
Written Answers. - Dublin Port Incident.
Mr. U. Burke Mr. U. Burke
216. Mr. U. Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if his attention has been drawn to an incident at Dublin Port recently involving a senior official of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and members of the Garda Síochána; the action he proposes to take in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26264/01]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): Since the first confirmed case of Foot and Mouth Disease in Great Britain on 21 February, my Department, in co-operation with a range of other Departments and agencies, has had measures in place to prevent the spread of FMD from Great Britain to this jurisdiction. These measures, including disinfection and other arrangements at Dublin Port, have been singularly successful in limiting the number of FMD cases in this State to just one.
I am already on record as expressing, on my own behalf and on behalf of the community at large, our gratitude to staff from all agencies, including the Garda Síochána, whose commitment and perseverance in playing their part to protect this country against the FMD threat has been unswerving. I have no doubt that there is agreement that the measures employed were absolutely necessary in the face of a crisis, not just for the agriculture sector, but for the economy generally.
In relation to the incident at Dublin Port referred to by the Deputy, this involved a number of motor cyclists, including several off duty members of An Garda Síochána, coming from a motor cycle meeting in Great Britain by ferry, and related to the disinfection of their vehicles and the clothing they were wearing. One of the individuals concerned has made an official complaint and the matter is at present being looked into by the customer service section of my Department.
It was, perhaps, inevitable, in the context of a national emergency involving the imposition of  additional controls and a measure of unavoidable inconvenience on the many thousands of travellers coming from Great Britain and elsewhere, that there would be a limited number of cases where individuals were unhappy.
In this instance, and quite properly, the matter in question is being dealt with under the formal customer complaints procedures established by my Department. I am satisfied that this is the appropriate mechanism through which to deal with such issues.
Dáil Éireann 543 Written Answers. Dublin Port Incident.