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Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
U2 message to American fans
U2
U2 say they are happy to help promote Irish tourism
The Irish rock group U2 have joined efforts to win American tourists to Ireland by dismissing the myths about foot-and-mouth disease.

Lead singer Bono read out a statement to fans at a Los Angeles concert on Monday night rubbishing some of the wilder stories about the animal disease.

He said: "We would like to tell everyone that Ireland is a perfectly safe place for a vacation. All of us in the band live and work there.


It's just a form of patriotism coming through

Jim McDaid, Irish Tourism Minister
"It's a great place for a vacation and we hope you will continue to visit."

The endorsement by U2 is part of the Irish Government's proactive attempts to safeguard its lucrative tourist industry.

There has only been one case of foot-and-mouth in the Irish Republic so far and that was over a month ago in County Louth.

On 20 April, the Dublin government was allowed to start exporting beef and dairy goods again.

It has also rescheduled St Patrick's Day celebrations for May in the hope the national events will pull in an international contingent.

Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen has offered his help
The Irish have also recruited other big names to help dispel misunderstanding about foot-and-mouth after it was revealed that one in five US consumers believe it is the same as mad cow disease.

Actors Martin Sheen and Michael York are among those taking part.

The Republic's tourism minister Jim McDaid said he was delighted with the support: "It's just a form of patriotism coming through.

"You know when the Irish have their backs are up against it we tend to buckle down."

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See also:

20 Apr 01 | Northern Ireland
Dublin revives St Patrick's Day
08 Feb 01 | Entertainment
World-beating U2 delight fans
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