The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has today (Thursday, September 30) launched the report of the Animal Health Implementation Committee (AHIC), which outlines the progress achieved to date in delivering the actions contained in Ireland’s first National Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance 2017-2020 (iNAP), both in the animal health and environment sectors.

Launching the report the minister said: “This report highlights the considerable progress that has been made in Ireland in the last three years to address the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), specifically in the area of animal health and our shared environment.

“All members of the animal health committee have shown proactive engagement and leadership, and a willingness to work in a collaborative way to deliver the many actions that were included in this first action plan.

“The establishment of the iNAP Animal Health Implementation Committee in 2018 has been fundamental in facilitating multidisciplinary collaborative efforts across key stakeholders in the animal health and environmental sectors.

“The principles and actions contained in this action plan align well with a number of departmental  policies including Ireland’s National Biosecurity Strategy, Ireland’s Animal Welfare Strategy and Ireland’s National Farmed Animal Health Strategy, with one of its key enabling principles being ‘prevention is better than cure’,” the minister added.

Antimicrobial resistance

The minister has acknowledged that the spread of AMR is one of the greatest global public health challenges of our time – resulting in increased health care costs, hospital admissions, treatment failure, severe illness and death.

Minister McConalogue said:

“The current global pandemic has underlined our dependence on the availability of effective disease treatment options.

“The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in both human and animal health is accelerating the development and spread of AMR globally.”

The minister added that the first National Action Plan has provided a successful platform to implement policies and actions to prevent, monitor and combat AMR across the health, agricultural and environmental sectors using a One Health approach.

Such a coordinated approach is viewed by the European Union and the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being critical to tackling the issue. 

The report outlines the progress made and the actions delivered.

Collaborative actions enhance the health and well-being outcomes on Irish farms for farm families, as well as being vital to the continued health of our society and economy,” the minister added.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has said that work is currently underway to finalise the next iteration of Ireland’s National Action Plan on AMR (2021-2025), that will be launched later this year.