Time Du­nally lab was saved

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

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.

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