Foot and mouth threat to Celtic Tiger

Thursday, March 01, 2001
The foot and mouth disease could cripple Ireland's Celtic Tiger economy, according to Tanaiste Mary Harney.

Her warning came as she appealed for the cancellation of all social and community gatherings in rural areas, a development that might lead to a voluntary end to weekend masses, in a bid to halt the spread of the outbreak.

Ms Harney said, "I am not necessarily talking about mass, but gatherings of large groups over the next few days should be minimised as much as possible."

The Tanaiste stressed the potential damage foot and mouth disease could cause to the economy.

"It is very serious. There is a real threat to the agriculture industry, the food industry and our whole economy. This affects us all and has the potential to do enormous damage to his country. The entire government is determined to mobilise the resources of the state. There is a huge national effort, and it must continue. No effort must be spared," she said.