§ Mr. Thompson
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make a statement on the prospects for farmers with flagged herds. 
§ Mr. Paul Murphy
[holding answer 19 March 1998]: The Government are aware of the difficulties being experienced by farmers with flagged herds. The Export Certified Herd Scheme [which has now been approved in Brussels] will help to some extent as the reference to "holding" will be changed to "herd". The Date Based Export Scheme, which is also under discussion in Brussels, should be of some further help. The Department of Agriculture will also be reviewing the flagging system, in consultation with the industry, when the ECHS is up and running. My officials are keeping in close contact with representatives of the flagged procedures to explore what other means may be available to help them.