Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry has written to the Minister for Agriculture urging him to reconsider the recommendations of a departmental review on veterinary services. The review argues for a more centralised model for the delivery of veterinary services – ultimately leading to the closure of 3 regional laboratories, including the one at Dunally in North Sligo.
Senator Mac Sharry commented, “I have grave concerns about the recommendations of this review. It will have serious implications not only for the staff at the regional veterinary lab in Sligo, but also for the wider farming community in the North West region. If the Minister presses ahead with this deeply flawed intention to close the Sligo lab, farmers across Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal will be left with no regional supports.
“This Government has been chipping away at agricultural supports since it took office four years ago. We’ve witnessed major changes to programmes like the Farm Assist Scheme and the Rural Social Scheme and now the Minister intends to downgrade essential lab services which provide important data on disease losses and herd management.
“The North West has been completely neglected in terms of investment and supports. It is completely unacceptable that the region has been allowed fall off the agenda. The urban-rural divide has become more pronounced over the past four years as the North West is hit by job losses while major investments are announced in Dublin and the commuter counties. This recommendation to close the regional veterinary lab in Sligo is the latest slap in the face for local communities here.
“I have written to Minister Simon Coveney urging him to reconsider the decision to close three of the state’s veterinary labs – including the one in Sligo. It is an extremely retrograde step, which will have a devastating impact on farming communities in the North West”.