“The reason why we have a suspected BSE case in Ireland is because we have a very comprehensive system that tests and tests and tests to make sure that no animal can fall through the net.
"This is a hangover from a historical BSE problem, we will have the odd isolated case, there were no cases at all last year. We were hoping there would be no cases into the future but if there are any individual isolated cases we will find them and will investigate how that could have happened,” he said.
“We will reassure the many countries that import Irish beef that we have very robust, very safe and very transparent systems.”
Mr Coveney said it was important the latest case in the country’s €2.2bn food industry was put in context.
It comes just days after a key world animal health organisation declared that Ireland was effectively free of the disease that sparked a huge food scare in the 1990s. Just last week Ireland’s BSE status was changed from ‘controlled risk status’ to ‘negligible risk status’ after no cases of BSE were detected in 2014.
“We have developed a really good relationship with our counterparts in China, Japan and US, and lots of other countries,” he said, with 90pc of Ireland’s beef destined for more than 70 different countries,” he said.
“I would make the case and I’d still make the case, Irish beef is the safest and has the most transparent and robust testing systems anywhere in the world to ensure that we are providing a high quality premium product and that is the case today as it was last week.
“What is unfortunate about this is the body that actually certifies countries for BSE risk gave Ireland the all clear last year for the first time in 20 years.”
However, Bord Bia has emphasised Ireland will retain it’s ‘controlled risk status’ even if this case is confirmed.
“We might go back to having a controlled risk status but don’t forget that was the basis all the trade relationships we have now and in particular the ones we’ve developed in the last few years have happened,” he said.
“It just means unfortunately we go back to where we were at the start of last week which is unfortunate but not a disaster.”
The Taoiseach also commented on the suspected case of BSE, and stressed that the possible case of mad cow disease was discovered due to "the very rigorous assessments and standards that we have here in Ireland."
"This does not affect either the food chain, either the dairy end of it or the meat chain because that animal hadn't got into it, which is very reassuring," said Mr Kenny.
"As the assessment of the reasons for this animal being affected are analysed over the next week or so, the [Agriculture] Minister and the Department will keep all of our people here and also in other countries fully informed on this," he added.