Ireland’s efforts to bring about an eradication of bovine TB will take centre stage at the next meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine tomorrow (Tuesday, March 9).

Set to take place in the evening, representatives from five “key stakeholder organisations” will appear before the committee to discuss the eradication of the disease.

The meeting will be held at 6:30pm in Committee Room 2, and take place across two sessions.

The first session will involve discussions with representatives from Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) and Macra na Feirme.

Following this, a separate engagement will be held from 7.30pm with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Ahead of the meeting, committee chair Jackie Cahill, TD, said: “In 2016 Ireland reached a historical low number of Bovine TB cases. However, it has increased each year since and 2020 saw an acceleration of the disease.

“The financial cost of the Bovine TB Programme is estimated to be over €97 million in 2020 – which is a €15 million increase since 2015.

Ireland is the only EU member state with a continuing significant Bovine TB challenge. This is reflected in the ongoing reductions in EU co-funding support for the Bovine TB Programme, raising further funding challenges for farmers and the Irish state.

“January’s Bovine TB Eradication Strategy 2021 – 2030 sets out a roadmap with the aim to eradicate Bovine TB in Ireland.

“With that in mind we are delighted to have five key members of the Bovine TB Stakeholder Forum before us on Tuesday,” deputy Cahill concluded.