‘A piece of paper that should be burned’ – Fitzmaurice calls on minister to ‘scrap’ TB letters

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has called on the newly-appointed Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, to “scrap” the TB Herd History Risk Statements and Reports issued by the department.

Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue was today (Wednesday, September 2) appointed as the new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Speaking in the Dáil after his appointment, deputy Fitzmaurice called on the minister to “scrap what academics have put together where they didn’t listen to the farmers”.

“There’s a crucial issue that has come out in the last few days,” deputy Fitzmaurice said.

“A piece of paper that – in my opinion, should be burned in the fire – came out to farmers about their TB status.

I want you to scrap what academics have put together where they didn’t listen to the farming organisations and the farmers.

“The first way you will show that you are on the side of a farmer, is consultation on this TB forum.

“They [farmers] haven’t been listened to, they need to be listened to – not academics that [are] looking at universities in other countries.

“Listen to the farming families around the country and – will you do one thing to show you are a minister in charge of a department – get rid of that TB letter.”

TB risk letters to lead to ‘untold damage’

The TD said earlier today that TB risk letters will lead to “untold damage”.

He went on to claim that the department had “seemingly stabbed farmers in the back” with the move.

Fitzmaurice said: “Efforts to eradicate bovine TB in this country have been ongoing for decades and farmers have continuously played an active role in this.

“But yet the blame for recent increases is being placed squarely at their door, when other factors are also at play.”

When addressing the new minister, Fitzmaurice also added that “in the coming days – not in the coming months” the “forestry situation around the country” must be looked at.

It’s in chaos – there are contractors going bust; there are 12,000 jobs at stake; and no one seems to be putting a handle on it in the department.