“We did not want to overreact, but, equally, we did not want to under-react..”

In the Belfast Telegraph David Gordon charts the timeline of the weekend breakdown of communication north, south, east and west over the Irish pork dioxin alert. To recap, the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture were told of potential problems on Friday, the Minister of Agriculture on Saturday and the Minister for Health on Sunday.. when he checked his messages.. and the all-clear [for Northern Irish pork] arrived on Monday. Meanwhile Sinn Féin’s Pat Doherty looks to blame the Belfast offices of the UK’s Food Standards Agency.. [but not the Dublin based Food Safety Authority? – Ed]. In the Republic of Ireland the government has announced a €180m contingency fund “to cover costs arising from the recall of pig meat following the dioxin contamination”, and the EU is expected to confirm the establishing of “a private storage aid scheme worth €15 million to help Irish pigmeat producers affected by the recall on pork products.” But then, sales of Northern Irish pork won’t have been affected by those headlines.. will they? Adds From the updated RTÉ report

Elsewhere, the Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister has said she is hoping to have an early meeting with her counterpart in the Republic to discuss better North/South communications following the alert over pork. Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew said that ‘with the benefit of hindsight there were always things that maybe could be handled better’. She said she hoped to talk to the Minister for Agriculture and put some sort of early warning system in place so that both departments could communicate with each other if there were problems.

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