Northern Ireland TB Eradication Partnership

The new TB Eradication Partnership (TBEP) is the primary tier of new governance arrangements being put in place to provide expert advice and input to a new strategy to drive forward the eradication of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in Northern Ireland.

The TB Eradication Partnership is a fresh approach to addressing the high levels of bTB in Northern Ireland. Industry stakeholders and veterinary representatives within the Partnership will work with DAERA to provide independent advice, assist in policy development and add value to programme delivery.

The TBEP is the over-arching tier of three levels within new governance and disease response structures in Northern Ireland, each having specific responsibilities.

Augmenting the work of the TBEP, three Regional Eradication Partnerships (REPs) will each have a specific focus on bTB eradication in a particular geographic region. The REP’s key objective will be to work collaboratively and in partnership with Government and stakeholder representatives to effect the eradication of bTB in their area. They will provide advice and feedback to the TBEP.

At local level Disease Response Teams (DRTS) may be formed on an ad-hoc basis in response to a serious bTB outbreak, repeated breakdowns in an area, or to deal with particular disease issues.

The TB Eradication Partnership comprises a Chairperson, and up to six members appointed by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, with effect from 1st June 2018.

Members of the TBEP represent a wide range of backgrounds and experiences relevant to driving forward the eradication of bTB in Northern Ireland, including from the NI farming community and from a veterinary and scientific background. Two positions on the TBEP are reserved for one person from a conservation background and one person from a food processing background. Currently these positions are vacant.  A process to fill these positions is under ongoing consideration.

Current Members of the TBEP are:

Mr Seán Hogan (Chair) is from County Down. He was previously Chair of Northern Ireland Water and he was the first Chair of Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI). He was the Chair of the TB Strategic Partnership Group and oversaw the publication of the Group’s TB Eradication Strategy. He has been a chair and member of audit committees in many fields including transport, health and social service, ports and utilities boards. Currently he is the Chair of Newry Credit Union and a non-executive Director of Ervia Group, Dublin.

Mr Seamus O’Kane  - veterinary sector. Originally from County Tyrone, Mr O’Kane graduated as a vet in Dublin and has 46 years’ experience in a mixed veterinary practice. He has been President of the North of Ireland Veterinary Association and the Association of Veterinary Surgeons in Northern Ireland. He has also been the British Veterinary Association representative for Northern Ireland.

Dr Sam Strain - science community. From County Armagh, Dr Strain has been Head of Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute TB Immunology Research Group and Head of the bovine TB Culture Laboratory in Northern Ireland. He is a member of Animal Health Ireland Johnes Disease Technical Working Group. Currently, he is Chief Executive of Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI). He has published a wide range of scientific articles.

Mr David Rea - farming background. David is a dairy and beef farmer from County Down. He qualified as a vet in Glasgow and practised for three years in Northern Ireland. He is a member of the UFU and the Association of Veterinary Surgeons in Northern Ireland. He also has extensive experience at a senior level within a dairy co-operative.

Mr Adrian Patterson - farming background. Adrian is a mixed livestock farmer from County Down with 16 years’ experience breeding pedigree stock. He has also extensive experience in the private sector at a senior level dealing with major organisational change. He is also involved in charitable bodies at a committee level.

Since its establishment, the TBEP has focused on engagement and information gathering. It has received briefings from the DAERA Chief Veterinary Officer as well as DAERA Policy and Programme officials. It has put in place meetings with a range of key stakeholder organisations including the Ulster Farmers’ Union, Ulster Wildlife, the Association of Veterinary Surgeons Practising in NI and the NI Badger Group, to help inform its thinking on the development of a long term bTB Eradication Strategy for Northern Ireland.

The TBEP has considered a number of draft policy recommendations developed by DAERA officials, as part of the Department’s response to a pubic consultation on the TBSPG’s recommendations to eradicate bTB in Northern Ireland, and has provided an initial assessment.

The TBEP Advice Paper to DAERA can be viewed at the following link;

You can contact the TBEP by e-mail to:


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