TB eradication partnership start date delayed

Bad weather has meant Northern Ireland’s TB Eradication Partnership (TBEP) start date is likely to be pushed back towards the end of the month, AgriLand can reveal.

It’s understood prolonged snow meant several of the candidate interviews had to be rescheduled, delaying the process.

It comes just days after Northern Ireland’s chief vet told a conference that the disease now threatened Northern Irish calf exports to Spain.

The latest

The committee was originally supposed to come into effect on April 1, but officials say it’s now likely to be closer to the end of the month before it will be operational.

The department confirmed that no appointments have yet been made, with panel recommendations on candidates expected to be made shortly.

It’s understood no definitive start date has been set and because of the delay no meetings for TBEP have been scheduled yet.

The new TB quangos – including TBEP – are expected to cost Northern Ireland’s public purse up to £20,000 a year.

Responsibility

TBEP is expected to fulfil an expert committee role, providing advice to the DAERA chief veterinary officer and policy makers within DAERA on strategic and operational issues.

It will also monitor the progress of the TB Eradication Programme.

TBEP will have access to the Minister for Agriculture on any significant issue and would be prepared to give evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee as required.

Its chairman will be paid £350 a day, while other members will receive a daily rate of £250. The committee is expected to meet once every other month.