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Saturday 16 December 2017

State Solicitor investigating three cases of irregularities in TB scheme

Three cases of irregularities in TB scheme sent to the Chief State Solicitor for prosecution

The Investigations Division of the Department of Agriculture investigate of irregularities of the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication scheme.
The Investigations Division of the Department of Agriculture investigate of irregularities of the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication scheme.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Following investigations for compliance with Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication scheme the Department of Agriculture successfully prosecuted two farmers in 2016 with three more cases sent to the Chief State Solicitor Office (CSSO) for prosecution.

The Investigations Division of the Department of Agriculture investigate of irregularities of the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication scheme.

Resulting from those investigations, there were two successful prosecutions during 2016, this compares to five successful prosecutions in both 2014 and 2015, the Department said in its 2016 Annual Report.

At Trim District Court, two Co Meath farmers pleaded guilty to the movement of a number of bovines without the required Brucellosis tests contrary to the Brucellosis in Cattle regulations.

One of the farmers also pleaded guilty to three counts under the European Communities (Identification of Bovines) Regulations 2009.

Meanwhile during 2016, three new cases were submitted to the Chief State Solicitor’s Office for prosecution.

The Department has said that only where evidence of ‘serious breaches’ of legislation is uncovered in the course of investigations, files are referred to the CSSO with the view to prosecution.

Approximately 98.1pc of the national herd was tested for bovine TB in 2016. There was an increase in the number of reactors detected, 16,914 in 2016 compared to 15,317 in 2015.

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According to the Department of Agriculture, this increase was due, in the main, to the increased use of the Gamma Interferon Blood test which leads to the identification of reactor animals at an earlier stage in the disease cycle.

Notably however, it says herd incidence of TB decreased from 3.37pc to 3.27pc in the same period, evidence that the Department’s eradication policy continues to make progress.

While the Department says it is not possible to attribute the decline in the incidence of the disease to any single factor, it says the main factors involved would appear to be the badger removal policy which has been in place for some years now.

In addition, it highlights the integration of the Animal Health Computer System (AHCS) with the Animal Identification and Movement System (AIM) has facilitated more effective management of its TB eradication programme delivery, including enhanced quality controls of delivery of the traditional skin test (SICTT).

Furthermore, it says the increased use of blood testing to compliment the skin test has resulted in earlier identification of reactors during breakdowns, resulting in earlier de-restriction (almost 56 fewer herds remained restricted at the end of 2016, compared with the same time in 2015).


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