Avian flu: 51 dead birds at Belfast park – but cases seem to be petering out

Authorities are hoping the worst of the avian flu outbreak in Northern Ireland is now over, with no new cases uncovered since Wednesday, December 22.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 3:31 pm
Updated Friday, 7th January 2022, 4:12 pm

Much of the public interest in the outbreak had centred on the Waterworks in north Belfast – a large park made up of two lakes, and filled with wildfowl.

Members of the public witnessed many birds in extreme distress during December, spinning around in confusion or lying dead or dying on footpaths.

Now Belfast City Council (which runs the park) said there were 51 dead animals there in total during the outbreak.

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Sick swan at the Waterworks

Meanwhile DAERA has a record of 11 different infection hotspots – but no new ones since December 22.

Infections have been detected in wild birds at The Waterworks, east Belfast’s Harbour Estate, Hillsborough in Co Down, Mallusk and Cave Hill in Newtownabbey, and Enniskillen.

Meanwhile there were outbreaks among kept birds in Aughnacloy and Coagh, Co Tyrone, in Broughshane, Co Antrim, Armagh town, and sBallinderry, south-east Co Londonderry.

Four control zones remain in place in Northern Ireland.

They are at two sites in Ballinderry, then at the sites in Armagh and Aughnacloy.

Others lie around the Republic’s border, on the southern side.

These four sites are made up of protection zones and surveillance zones.

Protection zones span a two-mile wide circle around the infection site, where birds must be isolated, records kept of any movement of birds or eggs, and visitors to bird-keeping sites must be logged – among many other restrictions.

Meanwhile the surveillance zones cover a six-mile circular zone around the infection site, and involve many of the same stringent measures.

Exact details of the requirements can be found by typing this link into your internet browser: shorturl.at/HQEM8

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Ben Lowry, Editort he will now move to end the border checks, regardless of whether Sinn Fein tries to block it from being discussed by the Executive.

Checks on goods from Great Britain have been happening since January 1 last year at the ports of Belfast, Larne, Warrenpoint, Foyle, and at Belfast International Airport.

Speaking to the News Letter amid the fallout from his report, Mr Bryson (who strongly opposes the Good Friday Agreement) said: “The significance of the strategy set out by the UVPS report can be distilled from the observation that minister Poots has adopted it wholesale...

“I have spoken to those in senior positions within political unionism, and the report has received widespread support and endorsement, including publicly by the DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson.

“I welcome the strategic move to turn the Belfast Agreement, and Protocol inwards on itself: a classic judo move.

“And given the fire and fury flowing from many within nationalism – albeit without actually engaging with the substantive points – it’s clear they find themselves in a bit of a bind.

“Unionism is upholding the law as guardians of the Belfast Agreement. I find it hard to see why the most prominent and vocal supporters of the Agreement would do anything other than welcome that.”