Breeder to take TB wrangle to Ombudsman

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A Co Down breeder has said he will take his wrangle with DAERA over valuations for his TB hit stock, to the NI Public Services Ombudsman.

Sean Savage, of the Shanvalley herd, Ballynahinch, feels he has not been properly compensated for the loss of a number of animals from the award winning herd.

He has been in a 15 month battle with the department after nine of his animals initially test positive for TB in February 2016.

A dispute arose over the valuation of the animals, which were subsequently removed from the herd.

Five further animals failed a second test which was carried out only 47 days after the initial test. TB tests should have a 60 day interval. All of the animals were found to be clear of the disease when tested after slaughter.

Devastated at the loss of 20 years of breeding, Sean took his case to tribunal where it was accepted that the second test was ‘carried out earlier than would be the case had the department’s staff procedures been fully followed.’

Sean is still not happy at the valuations provided for his stock and has vowed to take his case to the NI Public Services Ombudsman.

“Proper compensation would help me get back on my feet again,” he said. “I am determined to fight for other farmers who may have suffered in a similar way but simply accepted they were powerless against the department and took what they were offered.”