The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has welcomed news that from this week, farmers have the option to accept or reject TB reactor valuations online.

However, the ICSA Animal Health and Welfare chair Hugh Farrell said that the move “must result in the department speeding up the process” of TB reactor removals.

“The removal of reactors in a timely manner is critical to keeping the spread of TB at bay,” Farrell said.

“Yet, the process of removing reactors is frequently delayed by the valuation process, and particularly so, if a farmer appeals an initial valuation.

“The department has set a target of its own to remove reactors within seven days of valuation, but we have seen this target missed on too many occasions.

“It is time now for the department to make a concerted effort to hit that target each and every time.

“They have not been slow to place more and more demands on farmers, but this is something that is in their control, and we want to see results.” 

Farrell added that it is “important for farmers to know that they can still appeal any valuation – whether this valuation is done in person by a valuer or done online – and this is a right that must be protected”.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said that this new portal is part of the department’s “commitment to maximising the benefits of technology in order to simplify life for farmers”.

“In addition, this new facility should also help in managing the risk of disease spread by reducing the amount of time a reactor is on-farm, something that farmers have always stressed is a priority for them,” the minister said.