Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Farming and Skills Bobby Aylward says the Regional Veterinary Lab in Kilkenny is an essential piece of infrastructure for farmers in the South – East and must remain open.

Deputy Aylward made the comments after the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) pledged their support for retaining the veterinary lab.

“Last year it was revealed that the Government was overseeing a review of the veterinary lab in Kilkenny. It has been suggested that this review could be used as a way for the Government to close the lab. I made it clear when the review was announced that the farmers in the South – East could not stand over the closure of this lab,” said Deputy Aylward.

“The veterinary lab provides an invaluable service to farmer’s right across the south-east, and its importance has been enhanced in recent months given the additional threats that farmers face as a result of Brexit. The Government should be looking at ways to provide additional reassurance and support for farmers, but instead Fine Gael is overseeing a review which has made farmers anxious about the future of services in the south-east.

“I’ve stated it before and I’ll state it again – the veterinary lab in Kilkenny must not be allowed to close. I have requested a special Dáil debate to be held on this issue so that I can ask the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to provide an update on the ongoing review. I will use this debate to highlight the importance of retaining the veterinary lab in Kilkenny.

“I’m delighted to see the ICMSA come out and support the campaign to retain the lab. I’ve spoken to many ICMSA members in recent months and they have all stressed the importance of keeping Kilkenny’s veterinary lab in place. Without it farmers will be forced to travel to Dublin or Athlone to access a veterinary lab.”