Speaking after the meeting, Minister Poots said: “A number of poultry houses have been affected in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The disease control zones required around the two infected premises in County Monaghan, and the case in County Cavan, extend into Northern Ireland. My Department worked closely with DAFM in establishing corresponding disease control zones in Northern Ireland and progressing the surveillance work required within those areas. Indeed I was pleased that DAERA staff were able to respond quickly and assist in depopulation of one of the first affected sites in County Monaghan.
“I spoke to Minister McConalogue today about our actions to date and the continued co-operation between our respective Departments to manage this outbreak. This is the worst outbreak of avian influenza to date across the islands with HPAI H5N1 confirmed or suspected at four sites in Northern Ireland and five in the Republic of Ireland.
“My officials are regularly in contact with officials in the Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to ensure that we can mitigate against further spread of the disease from one holding to the next. I thanked Minister MConalogue for the excellent engagement between both of our Departments and reiterated the essential nature of this work as we both seek to ensure our poultry industries are protected and that we do all in our power to tackle and eradicate this terrible disease as soon as possible.”
The Minister once again urged the poultry sector to do all they can to protect their flocks: “I am once again imploring all flock keepers to check their biosecurity steps today. If you checked them yesterday, check them again. You can never be too careful, too vigilant or too cautious. Avian Flu has the ability to get into your holding with just one small lapse in standards. Excellent biosecurity is key to protecting your flock whether that be a small backyard holding or a large commercial premises. Don’t let it happen to you.
“Download our biosecurity checklist today – if you can tick every box, then you’ve done all you can. If you cannot, then you need to take action immediately. You can find it here: http://daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/daera-ai-biosecurity-self-assessment.”