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 Could TT 2002 Be Called Off?

The foot-and-mouth crisis could go on until next year's TT, it has been claimed. Tourism Minister David Cretney believes chief vet Eamon O'Donnell told a meeting of the Department of Tourism's marketing partnership that the disease could continue to spread for a number of months. Mr Cretney is fighting to ensure the Manx Grand Prix goes ahead, even though the crisis is continuing.

He said: 'My understanding was that he said at the meeting that this could go on until TT 2002.' Mr O'Donnell said he informed members of the partnership of the worst case and best case scenarios - the worst case being that the disease could still be spreading next year. The best case scenario is that it could be over in the autumn. The tourism minister is desperate for the amateur road race to be staged in August following the massive blow to tourism after the TT was cancelled due to foot-and-mouth.

He believes the event should go ahead with no-go zones and safe spectator areas put in place. Mr Cretney said he wants to meet with farmers to discuss his plans, stating: 'I want to meet the farmers before I go to the Council of Ministers.' He believes a risk assessment should be made of potential problems with running the event and added the crisis was like 'being in a boxing ring and being punched and punched and punched'.

Mr O'Donnell would not reveal his views on the MGP but said at the moment the crisis in the UK is following a similar pattern to that of the 1967 outbreak.

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