The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, must work to repair relations and actively consult farm organisation representatives at tomorrow’s digital meeting of the TB Forum.

The Department’s recent decision to issue farmers with TB record letters damaged its relationship with farmers and farm organisations alike due to the apparent lack of consultation.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Fitzmaurice said: “Minister McConalogue must be prepared to get all of the stakeholders around the table and iron out these issues.

“It appeared as if the department rushed through the decision to issue these TB letters to farmers with no minister at the helm and at a time when the last meeting of the TB forum was meant to take place – which caused a lot of consternation.

“Compromises will have to be made and constructive discussions will have to take place to determine a pathway which farmers and the department can take moving forward.

“The department must be willing to recognise the funds farmers contribute to the TB Eradication Programme, as well as the man hours.

“They cannot be expected to carry the can at every turn,” Fitzmaurice said.

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