Contingency Planning for Avian Influenza in Northern Ireland

NORTHERN IRELAND - As the arrival of migratory birds is awaited in the forthcoming Autumn period, DARD continues to make preparations to ensure the protection of the Poultry Industry and ultimately the wider economy of Northern Ireland, according to Dr Perpetua McNamee, Director of Contingency Planning, DARD.
calendar icon 5 September 2006
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Such preparations include policy and legislative changes, ensuring financial arrangements are in place, making agreements with Operational Partners (OPs) and Other Government Departments (OGDs) for procurement of staff, tendering for and putting in place emergency call-off contracts, training and exercising of staff and communication of the plan to our Stakeholders. These are the basic tenets of contingency planning and are subject to review and revision on an ongoing basis.

The control of Avian Influenza in Member States is governed by the new AI Directive 2005/94/EC. EU Guidance for all epizootic disease, whether AI, Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) or Swine Fever recommends that a plan should be in place with the sufficient capacity to cope with a number of simultaneous outbreaks of disease. As a result of "Lessons Learned" during FMD in 2001, a Director of Contingency Planning was appointed by DARD in 2002.

The Director leads a six-person unit (The CPED Unit) who have the following Mission Statement: " CPED will allow access to facilities, equipment, personnel and any other materials necessary for the rapid eradication of epizootic disease". The Unit focuses on developing the contingency plans for epizootic disease and works closely with the Poultry Industry and Operational Partners.

The Poultry Industry Working Group meets regularly in Loughry Campus in order to share knowledge and skills thus enhancing the development of a robust, practical and well-tested contingency plan for the control and eradication of Avian Influenza from Northern Ireland.

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