The Forest Service joins farmers in their efforts to contain the spread of foot and mouth disease

District Forest Officers are working closely with their local divisional veterinary offices and counter-parts in Coillte Teoranta, the Irish Forestry Board, and have taken positive action in a bid to reduce the risks of the disease spreading.

People are being actively discouraged from entering public woodlands on unnecessary visits and all Forest Parks and Forest Recreation Areas are now closed.

Further measures to be implemented in infected areas include:

  • all recreation events or activities will be cancelled;
  • all operations on forest boundaries suspended;
  • Forest Service is in discussion with its customers over the transport of timber;
  • forestry operations in the infected areas are being kept to an absolute minimum;
  • Any sightings of sick or lame wild deer or feral livestock will be reported immediately to the nearest Divisional Veterinary Office from which advice will be taken on any action required. 

Forest Service officers have stopped inspection visits to private woodlands and will not resume them until the outbreak is over.

While the uncertainty continues, event organisers wishing to use the Forest Service woodlands face the possibility that their activities may face cancellation.

Malcolm Beatty, Chief Executive of the Forest Service, the agency which manages Northern Ireland’s public woodlands on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and RURAL DEVELOPMENT, said the decisive action, which was approved by the Minister Mrs Brid Rodgers, had been taken to support agricultural communities through this difficult time.

Mr Beatty has made this appeal:

“In an effort to help farmers stop foot and mouth disease from spreading I would strongly urge members of the public to stay away from woodlands until the outbreak of Foot and Mouth is over. All Forest Service woodlands are now closed to visitors and everyone should heed signs displaying this.

“We in the Forest Service would join with farmers in appealing to the public at large to avoid any non-essential trips to the countryside.”

Media enquiries only to DARD Press office on 028 9052 4619. published a feature on foot and mouth. To read it, click here.