Bird flu has arrived in the Royal County, but crucially not in poultry, but in wild birds and it has affected pheasant shoots in places like the iconic rock venue Slane Castle.

A Spokesman for the department of Agriculture confirmed the situation to Meath Live.

They said, ” There is no confirmed outbreak of HPAI H5N1, (Bird flu), in poultry or captive birds in Co Meath.

“HPAI H5N1 was confirmed in wild pheasants in Co. Meath on the 11th of November 2022, as outlined in Avian Influenza Update report 16 of 2022 from the Department’s National Disease Control Centre on the 14 November.

“There is widespread evidence of HPAI H5N1 circulating in wild birds in Ireland. A large majority of these cases were in gannets. Other wild bird species in which cases of HPAI H5N1 have been confirmed include guillemot, mute swan, peregrine falcon, raven and pheasant.”

A source told Meath Live,’ Places where pheasant shoots are held have been badly affected, upwards of 5000 pheasants have died, there is a technicality which allows such venues and the department off the hook on this and that is the venues release the pheasants some weeks before the shoot begins and once they are released they are officially classed as wild birds.

‘There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on anyone’s part but once bird flu arrives in any area it is a worry for everyone involved in that line of business.”