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Posted: 17 February 2006

UCD experts to advise Minister for Agriculture on Avian Flu control measures

Professor Michael Monaghan, UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine is to chair an Expert Group set up by the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, to provide ongoing advice in relation to avian influenza control measures. Professor Monaghan fulfilled a similar role at the time of Foot & Mouth Disease in 2001. Other members of the Group include Professor Bill Hall, Director of the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases and Dr Patrick Wall, Professor of Public Health at the UCD School of Public Health and Population Science.

Professor Michael Monaghan
Professor Michael Monaghan

The Government already has a range of measures in place to deal with avian influenza and these, along with a contingency plan, are kept under active review. However, the recent spread of the virus to wild birds in Europe has increased the risk of its introduction here.

Announcing the appointment of the Expert Group, Minister Coughlan said that “it is important, given the potential consequences of an outbreak of avian 'flu, that my Department and I have access to the most comprehensive advice available to us on an ongoing basis. The members of the Group will bring a wealth of advice and experience that will be of great value in ensuring that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the introduction of the disease and if necessary to deal with outbreaks if they arise.”

The Minister stated that she would be asking the Expert Group to advise her of the circumstances in which it would be appropriate to require the compulsory housing of domestic poultry and other birds. Such a measure is provided for in EU legislation where the risk to poultry was considered to be high.

The Group includes veterinary, scientific and ornithological expertise and the members are:

  • Prof Michael Monaghan (Chairman)
    UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine
  • Prof Bill Hall
    Director, Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases, UCD
  • Dr Patrick Wall
    Professor of Public Health, UCD School of Public Health and Population Science
  • Olivia Crowe
    Birdwatch Ireland
  • Dr Michael Gunn
    CVRL, Department of Agriculture & Food
  • PJ McArdle
    Poultry Expert (ex-Department of Agriculture and Food)
  • Donal McLoone
  • Dr Paddy Rogan
    Chief Veterinary Officer, Department of Agriculture & Food
  • Dermot A Ryan
    Senior Inspector, Department of Agriculture and Food
  • John Wilson
    Parks and Wildlife Service

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