ICSA is to mount a protest tomorrow in opposition to the possible closure of the Regional Veterinary Laboratory in Doonally, Co Sligo. Speaking ahead of the protest, ICSA Sligo chairman Gabriel Gilmartin said “The closure of the facility would mean farmers in the North West having to make a return trip possibly as far as Backweston to access important diagnostic facilities. It makes no sense at all to deprive farmers of this vital local service. I am urging all farmers who use the lab here in Doonally to come out tomorrow and show they will not stand by and let the this facility be shut down.”
The lab performed over 3,000 post mortems on cattle and sheep in 2016 and tested nearly 30,000 samples from farmers. It also examines all aborted foetuses free of charge.
Continuing Mr Gilmartin said “ICSA believes the focus should be on improving services for farmers not removing them. Over recent years farmers have been endeavouring to improve their stock, particularly through schemes such as BDGP and Knowledge Transfer, so when an on farm death occurs they need to be able to receive a prompt diagnosis. It is a resource that must be protected.”
The protest will commence tomorrow (Wed) at 12pm.
An ongoing review of regional veterinary labs around the country is currently underway with some already due to be relocated.
There are six of these labs in the country.
Its understood the department are considering collection services for sample which will then all be brought to a central lab, a similar model exists in other countries.
Independent MEP Marian Harkin has said the possible closure conflicts with the Governments rural policy.