TALES FROM THE FIELDS: Cost of precautions against Foot and Mouth

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The total amount of loss and expenditure incurred in Northern Ireland as a result of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Great Britain could be of the order of £10,000, Major James D Chichester-Clark, Minister of Agriculture told the Ulster House of Commons this week in 1968.

Replying to a question from Mr Harry Diamond (Falls, Belfast) the minister said that while he was conscious of the fact that the general public suffered a certain amount of inconvenience and loss as a result of the precautionary measures which had to be taken in Northern Ireland, he said that he 
regretted that he was unable to give a figure of what this represented in financial terms.

Insofar as his ministry was concerned, said the minister, it was too early yet to give a complete answer, but excluding staff time, the figure could be of the order of £10,000.

Mr Phelim O’Neill (North Antrim) said that whatever they paid for keeping the disease out of Northern Ireland it was cheap at the price.

Mr Edward Richardson (South Armagh) congratulating the minister and his officials stated that any expenditure, be it £10,000 or even beyond that, to save the country from the “scourge” of foot and mouth disease was well worth while.

“All of us, no matter who we are, or whether we are from town or country, should thank God that we are free from it so far,” he added.

Major Chichester-Clark stressed that the danger was still there and that they must continue to be conscious of it.