Firefighters in Northern Ireland have successfully freed 52 sheep from rising flood water in Tynan Abbey, Tynan, Co. Armagh. According to Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS), at around 3:00p.m yesterday (Sunday, December 12), a fire appliance from Armagh, the Large Animal Rescue team from Newcastle and the Specialist Rescue Team were called to rescue a group of sheep that was trapped by rising flood water. The crews worked into the darkness in “challenging conditions” to ensure a successful rescue. With help from the farmer, the incident was dealt with by 7:00p.m. Click on the images in the gallery below to see photos from the rescue, courtesy of NIFRS Facebook.

Bird flu in Armagh

In other Armagh news, Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has confirmed a suspected case of avian influenza (bird flu) in 14,000 birds at a commercial poultry flock near Markethill. At the same time, DAERA has confirmed another suspected outbreak in a commercial duck flock in Coagh, Co. Tyrone.

This is now he largest ever outbreak of bird flu in Northern Ireland, according to chief veterinary officer Dr. Robert Huey.

“This is now not only the largest ever outbreak of HPAI in the UK, but also in Northern Ireland, and we must do all we can to protect our flocks, protect our businesses and protect the economy," he said. “I cannot stress enough how important it is that flock keepers reassess all of their biosecurity measures immediately. Are they stringent enough? Are you reviewing them EVERY day? What else can you do to prevent an incursion?” Dr. Huey asked. “Do it today, do not wait,” he said. “I am urging all bird keepers to proactively assess your current biosecurity measures and re-double your efforts to keep this disease out of your flocks,” Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots added.