‘Sense of fresh start’ around TB Eradication Programme talks welcomed

The “sense of fresh start” around discussions on the TB Eradication Programme has been welcomed by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) following an online TB Forum meeting yesterday (Thursday, October 2).

Commenting after the meeting, ICMSA deputy president Lorcan McCabe said that farmers could not afford to be downbeat or discouraged by the stop-start progress of the latest Eradication Programme.

He highlighted the undertaking given by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to renew his department’s efforts and to make a fresh start – with particular reference to opening up lines of communication with farmers and their organisations.

The deputy president said that he is particularly concerned by farmers who are presently restricted and who need more communication and greater emphasis on how they can eradicate this disease from their holdings as quickly as possible.

McCabe said that all parties have to accept that energy and resolve had been lost, whether through “pointless and irritating letters” or through relegation of that aim that had to be the focus of all efforts: Eradication of TB by 2030.

“Just speaking for the ICMSA, we aim to keep our eyes on the prize and, insofar as we’re able, we’re going to focus everyone else’s attention on that target as well,” the deputy president said.

“The prize here is the eradication of TB which has cost Irish farmers hundreds upon hundreds of millions over several decades since it was first set as an ambition.

That means that we don’t want to get hung up on ‘who said what’ or keep raking over mistakes: We want to keep this moving forward and ending this scourge that is ultimately costing us – the farmers – an absolute fortune.

“We welcome Minister McConalogue’s commitment to a fresh start and a new sense of cooperation and co-commitment and we’re going to take him and the department at their word.

“But that means that everyone put aside their quibbling and work towards the common aim of meaningful eradication,” McCabe concluded.