Dáil Éireann - Volume 638 - 27 September, 2007

Written Answers. - Animal Diseases.

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she is satisfied that there is sufficient awareness amount the agricultural community of the threat by the Bluetongue virus; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21183/07]

  Deputy Mary Coughlan: My Department has been particularly proactive in providing information and advice to the farming community and the veterinary profession in relation to Bluetongue.

Earlier in the summer my Department sent an information leaflet to every farmer and veterin[926] ary practitioner in the country providing information on the disease, including the clinical signs with which farmers and veterinarians should familiarise themselves. My Department organised an industry seminar in July which was attended, amongst others, by representatives of the farm bodies. My Department has also placed notices on Bluetongue in the farming papers including in this week’s Irish Farmers Journal.

In addition, my Department has a dedicated Bluetongue website which contains a comprehensive range of useful information and advice and this website will continue to be updated and will be a very useful source for farmers, veterinarians and any other handlers of livestock. The website can be accessed at www.bluetongue.ie.

I am very conscious of the need to ensure that the Irish farming community is sufficiently informed, not least following confirmation that the presence of the disease has been confirmed in England, and my Department and I will ensure that our communications strategy is kept under review and revised as appropriate.