Around 40 farmers have gathered outside a veterinary lab in South East Clare in protest over it’s possible closure.
A review group from the Departmentof Agriculture, who have visited the Regional Veterinary Laboratory in Meelick today, is considering centralising the service to Cellbridge County Kildare.
The members of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Associationa and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association held placards and signs outside the Knocklisheen lab during this morning’s protest.
The laboratory provides services to the entire Mid-West region and is used by farmers for diagnosing deiseases, or to determine unusal causes of animal deaths.
The Review Group from the Department of Agriculture who met with management at the laboratory were confronted by some of those in attendance, including Sixmilebridge Independent Councillor PJ Ryan.
The Independent Sixmilebridge Counillor says that this is just another reduction of services in rural Ireland.
The Cratloe-based General Secretary of the ICSA, Eddie Punch says there’s no way the facility could close.
He simply can’t understand the possible move.
The Department of Agriculture has released a statement in response to today’s protest.
The statement outlines how a Working Group, led by Professor Alan Reilly, reviewed the state’s laboratories, including at Knockalisheen, and looked at options for their future development.
Consultation on their report is ongoing, and a decision on the future of regional laboratories will come after this process is finished, and after a cost-benefit analysis is carried out.
The Department acknowledges that its laboratories are “integral” and says the help protect our strong food reputation.