British Ban on Irish Cattle Lifted

14 April 1921

On 14 April 1921, a ban on Irish cattle imports to Britain due to instances of foot and mouth disease was lifted. The disease was first confirmed on a Co. Wicklow farm on 17 January 1921, leading to the embargo being placed on all Irish cattle. No further outbreaks were recorded during the following three months, leading farmers – especially those in the north of the island (where no traces of the disease were found) – to exert pressure on the Department of Agriculture to rescind the ban, which eventually occurred in April. However, on 16 May six farms in Wexford were found to have been infected, and the embargo was reinstated. The foot and mouth outbreak of 1921 was the fourth of six separate occasions in which the disease was found in Ireland between 1912 and 1931.

Meeting of the Portadown Chamber of Commerce, 11 April (Portadown News, 16 April 1921)

Mr Campbell moved a resolution requesting the Department of Agriculture to remove the embargo on the shipment of cattle from the North of Ireland. He asserted that there was no disease among cattle in Northern Ireland, and that the present restrictions on shipping was doing immense harm to the country.

‘Irish Cattle Embargo Removed’, Yorkshire Post, 15 April 1921

The ban on the importation of Irish cattle is now removed and the first shipment since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease arrived at Birkenhead last night. Regular shipments of American cattle have been arranged.

‘Ireland’s Clean Bill of Health’, General Advertiser for Dublin, 16 April 1921

A conference representative of the Irish Farmers’ Union, Irish Cattle Traders’ Association, Cattle Salesmen, and other interests affected by the cattle embargo was held at the offices of the Department of Agriculture to consider question of the shipment of store cattle.

The various delegations made a strong protest against the continuation of the embargo on export, as there was no disease in the country, as was shown by the act that Inspectors of the Department, who had inspected over 1,300 farms and over 30,000 animals, had failed to find any indication of the disease. It was demanded as a right that the embargo should be forthwith removed. The officials of the Department were sympathetic and promised, an “Irish Independent” representative learned, to make strong representation to the Ministry of Agriculture, England.