TB Forum must deliver ‘real change’ – IFA

The TB Forum must ensure it delivers “real change” according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Commenting on the announcement today by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to reconvene discussions in the TB Forum, IFA President Tim Cullinan said:

“The minister must ensure it delivers real change in the TB programme, including a withdrawal of the herd risk letters and a meaningful opportunity for farmer input.”

Minister McConalogue made the announcement regarding the TB Forum following a meeting with IFA last night (Tuesday, September 8).

Cullinan said: “The TB Forum has been a failure to date and the new minister must get a grip of the situation and start listening to farmers.

There is no point in endless meetings where the real issues are constantly avoided.

The IFA president said the minister and his officials should not underestimate the level of anger amongst farmers at the recent blacklisting of farmers with the TB herd risk letters and the clear message to have these letters withdrawn.

The IFA says it has consistently put forward proposals that focus on the real drivers of TB and that reduce the burden of controls on farmers. These must now form the basis of discussions.

The IFA adds that it will not support a continuous re-run of the TB Forum format that has already failed farmers.

“The minister needs to take charge of the situation,” Cullinan concluded.

The president of the IFA Tim Cullinan, along with the deputy president Brian Rushe and animal health chairperson Pat Farrell, have already burned a number of TB herd risk letters, which they say “persecute farmers who have already suffered losses due to TB”.