Time Dunally lab was saved
THE Government has been urged to resource and upgrade all six Veterinary Labs, including Dunally Vet Lab, if they are “serious about supporting our agriculture.”
That was the view of Fine Gael Councillor Hubert Keaney who, as well as Independent Councillor Margaret Gormley, raised the issue at the October Council meeting.
“It’s been under review for over 18 months now. Staff are left wondering whether they have a job or not. We’re constantly being told how important agriculture is to our community. Food safety is of crucial importance - these labs are a vital defence in the fight against animal diseases and welfare,” said Cllr Keaney.
He urged the Government to see fit to provide a small amount of money to keep all six labs resourced and upgraded if they were serious about supporting agriculture.
Councillor Gormley called on Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to clarify his position on the lab at Dunally.
She said that there was a protest in February 2017 about Dunally, then a review started in August of 2017 - “kicking the can further down the road.”
“This was supposed to be finished in March 2018 and here we are in October” with still no decision, she said.
“It’s of vital significance that the testing can be done here in Sligo,” she said.
Fine Gael Cllr Sinead Maguire said it was one of the services where if you drew a line between Dublin and Galway there were no services north of that line.
She said the Dunally Vet Lab protected livestock herds. “It’s well beyond time it’s clarified,” she said.
Sinn Féin Cllr Chris MacManus said it would lead one to worry that “all this talk of regional balance is nothing more than lip service.”
“There’s a perception we in the North West are second class citizens. The fact that they want the northern half of this State to do without a lab speaks volumes. Are our Oireachtas representatives in the North West pulling their weight?” he said.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Seamus Kilgannon said it would be costly and time consuming if farmers had to bring animals as far as Athlone.
“The Department of Agriculture and Minster Creed should hold their heads in shame and I’ve no problem saying that in public,” concluded Cllr Keaney.