Either adequate insurance cover or a suitable compensation package must in place to cover poultry farmers in the event of any strain of avian bird flu, Sinn Féin spokesperson on agriculture Matt Carthy has said.

The comments came while commenting on reports that a case of the H5N8 strain of the disease had been confirmed in farmed poultry in England and in a wild bird in Limerick.

Carthy said payment as part of a compensation package for Monaghan poultry farmers affected by the H6N1 has not yet been made.

“Last week, I received confirmation from Minister Charlie McConalogue that affected farmers have still not received the promised compensation, although there is now a commitment that it will be forthcoming imminently.

“As we now face the scenario of further outbreaks of differing strains of bird flu, it is imperative that the Government provide a safety net either in the form of insurance cover or a standard compensation scheme for those affected.”

Carthy said that while poultry farmers take every precaution to prevent avian influenza infecting their flocks, they have no resources to safeguard their livelihoods should a new outbreak emerge.

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