Senator Marc Mac Sharry has called on Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately confirm his plans for regional veterinary laboratories throughout the country.

Senator Mac Sharry has called on Minister Coveney to maintain existing services, following rumours that the Minister plans to consolidate a number of labs, resulting on the closure of some regional centres across the country.

“These laboratories provide vitally important services to the farming community. The provision of post-mortem and sample testing is critical in the continuing good health of the national herd.  Any closure of the regional services will continually undermine the potential to maintain the health of the herd,” the Sligo Senator said.

Centres in Sligo, Athlone, Kilkenny, Celbridge, Limerick and Cork provide a valuable service to the farming community. Closing any of these regional centres would further undermine rural Ireland and the farming sector’s ability to perform to its full potential.

Senator Mac Sharry continued, “Labour and Fine Gael continue to display a blatant disregard for rural Ireland. This Government is marginalising rural communities through cuts to small schools, the closure of local garda stations, a complete dismissal of the needs of small farmers, discriminatory and unworkable commonage management plan and now with the rumoured closure of the regional veterinary laboratories. Where will it end?

“I am calling on the Minister to immediately clarify the future of these services and to begin to acknowledge that rural Ireland and the North West region have a huge amount to contribute to national recovery.”