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Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 21:47 GMT 22:47 UK
Surprise at NI livestock compensation
Holstein herd being burned on Ardboe farm
Holstein herd was burned on Ardboe farm
A farmer whose animals were destroyed because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in County Tyrone could receive more than 1m in compensation, an Assembly agriculture committee member has said.

The carcasses of Paddy Donnelly's Holstein herd were burned on his Ardboe farm on Thursday.

Agriculture committee member Ian Paisley Jnr said he believed Mr Donnelly would be paid more than 1m in compensation for the 450 pedigree cattle.

"I understand that he is entitled to receive money in excess of 1m and indeed that is a very large amount of compensation," he said.

"But is he has lost that amount he should be compensated adequately."

'Limited compensation'

The Ulster Farmers Union has said the amount is not excessive for a pedigree herd, and has pointed out that farmers are not receiving compensation for loss of earnings.

Douglas Rowe:
Douglas Rowe: "Compensation is only for animals lost"
It said compensation figures were being reached by the department of agriculture or independent assessors using strict guidelines.

President of the union, Douglas Rowe said: "Farmers are being paid compensation for the stock they are losing. That is it.

"They are not being paid for their loss of income, for any stress, for disinfectant after they have got the stock away. They are not being paid for any repairs that have to be done when the fires are over."

Meanwhile in Meigh, south Armagh, where Northern Ireland's first outbreak of foot-and-mouth occurred, the Department of Agriculture said that where it has been considered appropriate all compensation has been paid.

Rising cost

The Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association said it was satisfied with the compensation process in south Armagh.

Nigel McLaughlin from the association said: "Bank accounts are stretched and as long as farmers can guarantee that they have money coming in to compensate for the loss of their asset, it allays a lot of their fears."

The Assembly's department of finance has said the costs of dealing with foot-and-mouth in Northern Ireland are currently being met with existing budgets.

But with no clear picture yet what the final figure will be, that situation is being kept under review.

The Department of Agriculture can be contacted on its helpline numbers on 02890 524279 or 02890 524590 between 0830 - 2100 GMT.

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