Clare Bailey has commended the bravery of DAERA whistle-blower Dr Tamara Bronckaers.

The Green Party NI Leader said: “The treatment of Dr Bronckaers has raised serious questions about DAERA’s approach to whistle-blowers, animal welfare and food safety. I want to commend Dr Bronckaers on her bravery and persistence in coming forward and speaking out.

“Bad practice leads to bad policy. DAERA has turned a blind eye to the deletion of livestock movement records, which is fundamental to controlling bovine TB. Meanwhile, they are moving ahead with an inhumane badger cull, which we know to be ineffective in tackling bovine TB.

“In March, I raised Dr Bronckaers's case at Stormont’s AERA Committee. The Committee wrote to the Department seeking its rationale for appealing the Employment Tribunal decision. As yet, no response has been received from the Minister or his Department.

“The Minister must explain what disciplinary and policy action the Department will take in response to the serious concerns Dr Bronckaers has raised.

“Along with the Head of the Civil Service, responsibility for decision-making within the Department must also lie with Minister Poots.”