Irish Must Conform To EU Rules

Published online: Dec 03, 2003
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Northern Ireland will not be blocking seed potato imports from mainland Britain despite incidents of Potato Ring Rot there.

Seed inspector Reid Coleman said on BBC that a ban was unlikely as Northern Ireland was operating in a single European market.

"As long as seed and ware imports meet the requirements laid down by EU legislation they will continue to be brought into the province," he said.

"We will, however, be stepping up port inspections.and will be looking particularly for illegal consignments.

"Also, we intend to inspect all potatoes grown from GB seed this year and would urge all the major Northern Ireland importers to cooperate.

Four farms in Britain were under restriction because of the disease.

Ulster Farmers' Union potato chairman Willie Murphy said if the necessary precautions are taken, it would ensure the US$43 million industry remained free of disease.

"This current situation highlights the importance of our disease-free status, which will be very important to the development of our seed industry and indeed to the future of our production in Northern Ireland," he said.