Spike Island a former military fort becomes a quarantine station for continental cattle and sheep.

As Ireland looks to expand national herds with new breeds of livestock an agricultural quarantine station has been set up on Spike Island in Cork Harbour. 

Under a programme designed to improve the national herd, the Department of Agriculture has purchased a number of French Charolais cattle, and Dutch Friesian cattle and Texel sheep. 

Strict controls by the Department of Agriculture are in place to ensure that farms in Ireland remain free from contagious diseases. The French and Dutch animals first spent twenty eight days in quarantine in Rotterdam, and housed with Irish cattle and sheep, who acted as controls for the experiment. 

Spike Island will be their home for the next six months, along with a small herd of Irish cattle and sheep, all of which have been examined and are disease free. 

Department of Agriculture veterinary officials supervise the handling and unloading of animals and best practice is maintained throughout the operation as,

All these precautions, all this attention to detail, is vital to our national economy.

Ireland’s livestock industry accounts for almost eighty per cent of gross agricultural output and comprises over ninety per cent of agricultural exports.  

If all goes according to plan, this quarantine station could be the ushering in of, 

A new and exciting era in our livestock history.

On the morning of 2 November everything was ready for the animals arrived from the Hook of Holland on the ‘City of Waterford’ before being transferred by lighter to Spike Island. 

Accompanied by the Irish Naval Service, Minister for Agriculture Charles Haughey arrives to officially open the quarantine station. Part of the process of expanding and improving Ireland's livestock industry is to look beyond our current horizons, 

The continent offered additional opportunities which we could not afford to ignore.

This episode of 'On The Land' was broadcast on 8 November 1964. The reporter is Patrick Jennings.