The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has told the Dáil he is confident that controls governing beef production in this country are adequate. 

Mr Ahern was speaking after medical tests effectively confirmed the first case of the human form of BSE to originate in the Republic. 

The patient is a man in his 20s who is being treated for the brain disease, which cannot be cured, in a major Dublin hospital. 

In a statement, the hospital said that the result of the latest test made it most unlikely that the illness was anything other than variant CJD, the human form of BSE. 

The hospital is not being named to protect the privacy of the patient. 

The only previous case here was that of a woman who had been living in England.

A spokesperson for the Tánaiste and Minister for Health, Mary Harney, said she learnt with regret of the announcement.

The spokesperson said her thoughts were with the patient’s family at this difficult time.

The Chairman of the National CJD Advisory Group, Professor Bill Hall, said the public should not be over-concerned because the risk of contracting the disease was negligible.