Closure of regional veterinary laboratories is a dangerous strategy - Ferris
Sinn Féin’s Agriculture Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD today expressed great concern at indications that Regional Veterinary Laboratories are to be closed in Limerick, Cork, Sligo and Kilkenny.
Deputy Ferris said:
“The Department of Agriculture’s Laboratory Steering Group set up a Working Group to review the service and report back. Although the report of the Working Group has not been published, local management in each of the Regional Veterinary Laboratories have already met with staff at each facility to discuss their future.
“The message delivered to workers at the laboratories last week was that the RVLs in Sligo, Leitrim, Cork, and Kilkenny would lose their laboratory facilities and become carcass collection sites. Carcasses would then be sent for post mortems to enhanced facilities at Fermoy, Athlone, and Backweston, near Celbridge, Co Kildare.
“The prospect of the closure of these laboratories is cause of great concern as it would result in hardship on farmers having to bring carcasses longer distances for testing. It would mean loss of jobs at each centre and in the context of government proclaimed optimism at the expansion of the national dairy herd is the wrong strategy and a dangerous strategy.
“Transporting carcasses long distances for post mortem increases the risk of the spread of disease, as was the case in Belgium in similar circumstances.
“The proposals are yet another indication of this government’s neglect and disregard for rural Ireland. Coming on the back of the closure of post offices and Garda stations and other public offices, it is another nail in the coffin of rural life where infrastructure has been so damaged and destroyed that life is becoming more and more difficult.
“I have asked the minister a series of parliamentary questions today to clarify the situation and will issue the answers as soon as he responds.”