“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.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The old Irish phrase – pigs mickey – spring to mind.

    Politically and practically a case for All Ireland agencies.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it
  • Pete Baker

    Sammy Mac

    On the missing post, you should ask kensei.

    On the alleged “case for All Ireland agencies”.

    And still with different jurisdictions?

    *shakes head*

    Then Northern Irish pork would only be going back on the shelf today rather than back on Monday.

    You realise, I’m sure, that the Republic’s HSA were looking after their farmers’ best interests first – it would be unpatriotic to do otherwise..

    I know Michelle now wants greater co-operation but the economic reality suggests another option is preferable to your suggestion.

    After all the response to foot and mouth in Britain was to move away from that association.

    The response to contaminated pork in the Republic of Ireland is.. to move closer?

    That’s a triumph of ideology over economics. And not at a good time financially.

  • Oilifear

    Pete, you don’t think that it demonstrates how intertwined our “two” economies are: animal food scare in the 26 counties, pork from the 32 counties pulled from the shelves?

    Well you may worry about ideology triumphing over economics. When it took 16 hours to get the message 100 miles up the road that is certainly the situation that we find ourselves in.

  • Pete Baker


    Read that Belfast Telegraph report again.

    It took 16 hours to get the message from one Northern Ireland Department to another Minister of a different Northern Ireland Department.

    That, in itself, has nothing to do with North/South communication, nevermind East/West communication.

  • Oilifear

    A = a minister in the south
    B = a minister in the north

    Distance between A and B = 100 miles

    Time to pass message from A to B = 16 hours

    Lesson: Whoever was to blame, this was a matter that affected us both. Making distinctions between “Irish” and “Northern Irish” pork is a nonsense. We need to improve communications between A and B because, whatever else your ideology may dictate, the reality is that we share an economy.

  • Pete Baker


    That’s not where the 16 hour gap exists.

  • Oilifear

    A sixteen hour gap exists. Where in the chain the link is broken is irrelevant. A to B needs to be better than 16 hours.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    And still with different jurisdictions?

    The GFA, which is effectively Norn Iron’s constitution set the architecture for cooperation on a wide range of areas – talking of jurisdictions as if no such architecture exists is a bit misleading.

    (The physical seperation between good old ROI pigs and good old Norn Iron pigs is the theoretcial width of the border – which is zero. )

    Mick, Pete,

    re. disappearing post – Kensei didnt remove it did he? – and besides I have no mechanism to ask him?

    Why did ‘Slugger’ take it down and not simply remove any offensive posts?

    I hant finished reading it but dont have the emails. From a ‘customer’ (ie me) perspective if that is going to happen it should be explained somewhere?