Irish Shows Association president Jim Harrison has called on the Departments of Agriculture in Dublin and Belfast to agree measures which will facilitate the easier cross-border movement of cattle, specifically in the context of these animals’ participation at agricultural events.
Speaking at the ceremony held to officially open this year’s Tullamore Show, he added: “It is possible to move cattle north south and south north at the present time.
“But it is a very bureaucratic process, one which acts as a deterrent for many breeders of pedigree and top quality commercial livestock. As a consequence the potential for all of our top shows, north and south, to provide a platform for breeders throughout the island is not being fully realised.
“This is unfair on the breeders: it is also unfair on those attending our shows, who are missing out in seeing the widest cross section of the top quality livestock bred in this country.
“I am not asking both departments to come up with a scheme, which dilutes the exemplary animal health standards enjoyed throughout the island of Ireland as a whole. But I am certain that the means can be found to allow larger numbers of our top cattle breeders compete in agricultural shows that are held throughout the island of Ireland.”
Mr Harrison continued: “The big stumbling block is the fact that Northern Ireland has yet to be declared Officially Brucellosis Free. Hopefully, this will happen in the very near future, at which stage officials in Belfast and Dublin can get on with the job of making life easier for cattle farmers on both parts of this island. “
He concluded: “The good news is that our agricultural shows continue to grow in popularity with the members of the general public. All of the event societies are confirming record crowd attendances this year. We must build on this for the future.”