Tipperary's Deputy Michael Lowry given update on Silvermines cattle deaths

The three farms that had their milk restricted due to a number of cattle deaths in Silvermines earlier this year have now been given the all-clear, Deputy Michael Lowry has been told.

The Tipperary TD raised the issue with Seán Kyne, Minister of State for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

In a written reply, Deputy Lowry was told that Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) identified lead toxicity as the cause of death of the three cattle.

It activated the Inter-Agency Group to investigate the incidents of animal disease specifically focused on reviewing and updating the monitoring and mitigation measures that might be undertaken in the area. The agency has met twice and is scheduled to meet again.

Extensive testing of clinical samples from farm animals bulk tank milk and animal feed, water, soil and sediments has been undertaken. The IAG will review the conclusions and recommendations of the studies conducted in 1999-2002 in light of the recent findings from this investigation, with a view to consider what if any further monitoring and mitigation measures might be indicated to safeguard food safety, public health and animal health and welfare.

The inter-agency was set up in 2000 following cattle deaths in 1999, and the Government set aside €10.6m to help with a clean-up of the Gortmore tailings pond. By the end of 2013 expenditure on the programme had amounted to €11.2m. The main outstanding element of the project is the work at the Garryard site which is estimated to cost in the region of €10m, and must be completed as one continuous whole.

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