26 June 2001
NI marts set to reopen within weeks?
By FWi staff
NORTHERN Ireland Agriculture Minister Brid Rodgers has indicated that livestock marts closed due to the foot-and-mouth crisis could soon reopen.
In a statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly on Tuesday (26 June) Ms Rodgers said she was concerned about the effects of the closure of the marts.
Ms Rodgers said her intention is to permit the phased reopening of marts under a suitable disease control regime as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Ulster Farmers Union reports that Ms Rodgers indicated that this process would be able to start within the next few weeks.
UFU president Douglas Rowe welcomed the news, but said farmers will be disappointed that no definitive timetable has been announced.
“We are pleased that progress is imminent but a commitment to dates would allow farmers to plan ahead,” said Mr Rowe.
Mr Rowe also reiterated calls for the introduction of collection centres for Over Thirty Months Scheme animals.
“Unfortunately, the minister has made no mention of this issue in her statement and we will once again be pressing for progress on this subject as soon as possible”.
Mr Rowe supported the Ministers call for farmers to continue stringent biosecurity measures.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed that Ms Rodgers had said that markets would reopen on a phased basis.
But she could not confirm the timescale for this.
Two new cases of foot-and-mouth were confirmed in Cumbria on Tuesday, taking the UK total to 1787.
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