A national programme to eradicate bovine tuberculosis commenced in Ireland in 1954. During the last 15-20 years, research has been conducted to address gaps in knowledge of disease epidemiology, to objectively evaluate alternative strategy options, and to critically assess the implementation of disease control strategies. This paper provides a review of scientific and policy advances in Ireland since 1988, relevant to the tuberculosis eradication programme in Ireland. There have been substantial advances in knowledge of aspects of disease epidemiology, relating to cattle-to-cattle transmission, the role of wildlife, transmission of infection from wildlife and methods to minimise wildlife-to-cattle transmission. Further, scientific advances have been made both in the detection and management of infected herds. With respect to policy, the paper describes current policy and policy advances in both the detection and management of infected herds, as well as current strategies to prevent herd breakdowns. The Irish programme is a useful example of science-informed policy in a national context.