[Sinn Fein]

28 February 2001

Call for Co-Operation with Foot and Mouth Measures

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caolain has called on people on both sides of the Border to be vigilant and to co-operate with measures to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth disease to Ireland. He also called for a more hands-on approach by the government and for the British Army to be withdrawn to barracks as their activities patrolling on farmland along the Border poses a real danger.  Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The spread of Foot and Mouth to any of the 32 Counties would be a national disaster. I urge people on both sides of the Border to be vigilant at all times and to co-operate with measures to ensure that this disease does not enter this island. The livelihoods of almost the entire agricultural community are at risk with this potential epidemic. ``There needs to be a more co-ordinated and hands-on approach from central government. There is evidence that the initial response has been sluggish in some respects. The effort to protect the country from this disease should be led by the Taoiseach and a Cabinet Task Force should be established.

``I have been contacted by people in Border areas who have complained about the continuing activities of the British Army. British troops regularly and recklessly cross and re-cross farms and have been responsible for the spread of bovine TB. Their activities now clearly pose a danger with this Foot and Mouth crisis. They should be immediately withdrawn to barracks.''

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