Ireland anxious to increase measures to help prevent the importation of foot and mouth disease from Britain.

The Irish government would like to set up its own controls at British ports to ensure there are no further cases of foot and mouth disease from imported animals.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said that negotiations with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the imposition of controls would be concluded tomorrow.

The Irish Country Meats plant in Navan County Meath was shut down last week when veterinary officers discovered a sheep with suspected foot and mouth disease. The animal was one of a consignment of eight sheep brought for slaughter by a farmer from County Cavan.

Department officials were initially concerned by blisters on the animal.

Preliminary test results on the animal proved negative. Further tests will be carried out during the week.

Government anxiety over the lack of control procedures at United Kingdom ports has led to negotiations for the placing of Irish disinfecting controls in UK ports.

Clearly, the only way to do it is to do it ourselves.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 8 April 2001. The reporter is Ciaran Mullooly.