Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and Stormont Agriculture Committee chairman William Irwin MLA has welcomed the decision to ban live imports of poultry in response to the confirmed case of bird flu in England.
Mr Irwin stressed the importance of protecting Northern Ireland’s poultry industry and said the ban would be vital in helping to maintain high levels of biosecurity to avoid any outbreaks of the disease.
He stated: “Our poultry industry in Northern Ireland is a significant employer across the entire province and it is vital that the industry is given the necessary protections in light of the fact that a case of bird flu has been confirmed in England and a slaughter program is in operation there.
“The minister must maintain regular and close contact with her colleagues in DEFRA and the poultry sector here in Northern Ireland to ensure that regulations are tightly controlled as our industry here would be under immense strain if such a case arose in the province.
“It is also vital that poultry producers maintain their strict biosecurity controls and I would continue to urge our producers to take the greatest precautions and follow protocols closely.
“I will be monitoring this situation closely and I would urge the minister to ensure officials in her department keep a very close eye on developments in England.”