The TB Eradication Partnership is a fresh approach to addressing high levels of bTB in Northern Ireland. Industry stakeholders, farmers and representatives with science, veterinary and environmental/conservation experience within the Partnership work with DAERA to provide independent advice, assist in policy development and add value to programme delivery.
The TBEP will be augmented by sub-regional and disease response structures in Northern Ireland, each having specific responsibilities;
- 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 Chair and four members, appointed by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, with effect from 1 June 2018. An additional member was appointed to the TBEP by the DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA with effect from 1 February 2020.
Members of the TBEP represent a wide range of backgrounds and experiences relevant to driving forward the eradication of bTB in Northern Ireland, bringing together individuals with knowledge and practical experience who have a major role in shaping the bTB programme at both a policy and ground level, and ensuring that their collective experience is utilised effectively to help address the problem.
Current Members of the TBEP are:
Mr Seán Hogan (Chair)
From County Down, Mr Hogan is currently the Chair of WRAS Ltd in the UK and Newry Credit Union in Northern Ireland. He is also a board member of the Ervia Group of Companies (Irish Water Ltd, Gas Networks Ireland Ltd & Aurora Telecoms Ltd). He has previously held a number of board positions across health, transport, utilities and agri research in Northern Ireland.
Mr Seamus O’Kane
Veterinary sector. Living in County Tyrone, Mr O’Kane graduated as a vet in Dublin and has over 40 years’ experience in a mixed veterinary practice. He has been President of the North of Ireland Veterinary Association and the Association of Veterinary Surgeons Practising in in Northern Ireland. He has also been the British Veterinary Association representative for Northern Ireland.
Dr Sam Strain
Science community. From County Armagh, Sam is a veterinary surgeon. He was Head of Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute’s TB Immunology Research Group and the bovine TB Culture Laboratory. He is currently the Chief Executive of Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI) and is a member of the all-island Technical Working Groups on Johne’s disease and IBR. He has published a wide range of scientific articles on farm animal infections and has spoken at numerous scientific and agricultural meetings locally, nationally and internationally.
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 livestock farmer from County Down with 18 years’ experience breeding pedigree cattle. In partnership with his eldest son Robert they maximise commercial beef output from grassland. Adrian has extensive experience in the private sector at a senior level dealing with major organisational change. He is also involved in the oversight of charitable bodies.
Dr Michael Meharg
Environmental / conservation background. Living in Co. Antrim Michael worked in government biodiversity protection for 30 years. Recently he moved to the private sector to build his long term involvement in conservation grazing with traditional breed cattle and to establish a small environmental consultancy specialising in on-farm carbon auditing and providing conservation / wildlife advice. He is a member of the UFU and is a director of the Nature Friendly Farming Network.
Food Processing sector. Conall is Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association, a post he has held for the last 6 years and where he is heavily focused on trade-related issues, including Brexit and 3rd country market access. Conall formerly worked as an Economist in the Livestock and Meat Commission and currently serves on the board of AgriSearch and NI Farm Quality Assurance.
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 find out more about these public appointments, and contact the Chair of the TBEP, by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also be interested in the following documents;
Report of the TB Strategic Partnership Group (December 2016)
DAERA consultation on proposals to eradicate bovine TB following detailed consideration of a report by the TB Strategic Partnership Group (November 2017)
Summary of responses to the DAERA consultation on proposals to eradicate bovine TB following detailed consideration of a report by the TB Strategic Partnership Group (July 2018)