Minister Poots, today announced a delay to the introduction of pet travel checks at NI points of entry until at least 1 October 2021.
As a result of the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol, pet travellers moving from Great Britain (GB) to NI are now required to adhere to the pet travel rules for third countries. This includes the requirements for additional documentation, rabies vaccination and a tapeworm treatment.
In conjunction with the Chief Veterinary Officer, Minister Poots said: “In order to provide much needed clarity, I have taken the decision to delay routine pet travel checks for citizens travelling from GB to NI with their pets until at least 1 October. This is to allow a further period for the ongoing UKG/EU discussions, where pet travel is under consideration, to provide direction on both the requirements necessary and any potential flexibilities.
“Pet owners have had little time to prepare to meet the new conditions for pet travel which have come as a result of the agreement reached between the UK and EU. This delay will also allow time for my Department to further scope the potential requirements for the introduction of checks and to educate the public further.
“Whilst the Department will not be conducting routine checks during this period it is important to note that my officials reserve the right to carry out checks if they suspect illegal activity or have welfare concerns.
“I have written to the EU on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland, highlighting that these requirements for pet travel are not necessary. Given that the last case of rabies on these islands was in 1922, these are unnecessary medical interventions. This issue is yet another example of why the Northern Ireland Protocol is not fit for purpose.”
Discussions are currently ongoing between the UK Government and the European Commission with regards to the implications for pet travel between GB and NI and urgent consideration is being given to the potential for a Common Travel Area between GB, NI and ROI. A joint working group has met on a number of occasions to consider where flexibilities can be achieved.
DAERA is carrying out additional work to develop systems and processes that will minimise the impact and delay for those travelling with pets from GB to NI at points of entry. Further clarity is required before any new processes can be implemented.
Any progress made or flexibilities agreed in respect of the additional requirements and any changes to the current enforcement of checks will be reflected in the Department’s Compliance Protocol, available here. They will also be published on the DAERA website here, on the DAERA Frequently Asked Questions document here and communicated widely through the usual Departmental media channels.
Stop and think this Farm Safety Week
This week marks the 9th annual Farm Safety Week and Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons have met with farmer Derek Robinson whose son came close to losing his life when he was overcome with slurry fumes.
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said: “Since January 2015 there have been 35 fatalities on farms in Northern Ireland and that is just too many. It is vital that we encourage all those working in the farming industry to stop and think about farm safety. By taking some simple precautions we can reduce the number of people killed and injured on our farms.
“As someone who has spent a lifetime working in the farming industry, I am well aware of the satisfaction and joy working on the farm can bring, but I also know that, all too quickly, it can turn into a nightmare if you aren’t careful with your equipment and your surroundings.
“I would encourage everyone to take the time now, to be extra careful and vigilant. It is vital that farmers pause and think about what they are doing before beginning work with livestock, machinery or slurry.”
Farm Safety Week is an awareness raising event that sees the Farm Safety Partnerships, Farm Safety Foundation, Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority Ireland joining forces to drive the fundamental message of safety within the agricultural community home.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons added: “Farm Safety Week is significant in helping to focus attention on farm safety and the measures that can be taken to ensure everyone is kept safe and out of harm’s reach.
“Derek’s story is important in that it highlights the fact that while many farms are work places they are also family homes bringing additional risks and considerations. With school summer holidays upon us it is critical we are even more mindful of children on the farm and ensure all is done to avoid accidents and injury.”
Stay Safe During Hot Weather
The First Minister and deputy First Minister have encouraged everyone to stay safe and look out for others during the current spell of very hot weather.
Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill were speaking after the Met Office issued the first ever warning for extreme heat here.
Executive departments and civil contingency agencies are working to mitigate any potential impacts to health, wellbeing and public services.
First Minister Paul Givan said: “After a difficult time for the whole community, it is understandable that people want to be out and about across Northern Ireland during this period of hot, dry weather. We want everyone to enjoy the sunshine, but it is very important that everyone does it safely.
Extreme heat can have serious consequences for people’s health, public services and the environment. So we ask everyone to take steps to protect themselves. Don’t take risks that could potentially be dangerous for you, your family or the wider community.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We have been experiencing an unprecedented heatwave and temperatures here are set to escalate even further in the coming days. It is vitally important that we all follow the advice that will help to keep everyone safe.
“Of course many people are keen to experience the good weather, but we ask everyone to take care of themselves, and others so that no one comes to any harm as a result of the extreme heat. Please check in on anyone who might be more vulnerable, including older family, friends and neighbours.”
Information and advice for people during the extreme heat warning is available at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/news/extreme-heat-warning-information-and-advice