Irwin continues lobby on historic herd numbers

DUP MLA Willaim Irwin
DUP MLA Willaim Irwin

Chairman of the Stormont Agriculture Committee William Irwin MLA is continuing to lobby the Minister for Agriculture on the issue of the transfer of historic herd numbers within families.

Mr Irwin confirmed he has again written again to Michelle O’Neill MLA and requested the outcome to a feasibility review that the minister stated would be undertaken to assess the technicalities of enabling such a provision.

In 2009 a decision was taken by the department not to facilitate new herd keepers adopting the registration number of a previously registered keeper and Mr Irwin said that he has had a steady stream of farming families contact him who are concerned that such numbers cannot be transferred.

He said: “I have made another official representation to the minister on this issue and also requested to meet with officials as it continues to be an important issue to those families who have held a specific herd number, in some cases upwards of 50 years and there is an obvious sentimental value attached to it.

“In many of the cases that I have been approached with, the original herd keeper has passed away and families rightly have the expectation that it should be a straightforward procedure to permit another family member to register that number in their name and continue with that traditional number.”

He added: “It has been some time since the minister assured me that feasibility review is being carried out and I have written again to her to request the outcome of the review and also to urge her to quickly make the necessary adjustments to the system in order to allow the transfer of historic herd numbers.”