Assembly Agriculture Committee member David Ford has said that today’s report into last year’s Foot and Mouth outbreak does not deliver all the lessons to be learned about how the disease was contained.
Mr Ford added that while there was little doubt that containment of the outbreak was handled better by Northern Ireland’s devolved government than in Great Britain once it was discovered, the Department could have done much more to prevent it getting here in the first place.
Mr Ford stated: “Criticisms of poor bio-security at ports show that there are serious lessons to be learned for the future and mirror some complaints I had received about the way port checks were operated prior to the crisis. We also need to ensure that in future we have an adequate number of vets trained for any potential outbreaks.”
“Despite its criticisms, this report is of limited value as it is not fully independent – it was carried out by consultants appointed by DARD.”
“I regret that the Minister did not take the advice of the Assembly’s agriculture committee to have a completely independent inquiry. It may be that some lessons will only be learnt when the committee completes its own report into the Foot and Mouth outbreak in Northern Ireland.”