Local TDs raise issue of Doonally RVL in Dail chamber ahead of demonstration

Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, insists government policy is to improve the regional veterinary laboratory testing system, not damage it

Speaking in response to a number of queries on the future of the RVL in Doonally yesterday evening, Minister Doyle says it will all come down to money but the aim is to improve and not reduce services.

A demonstration by farmers is to take place outside the Regional Veterinary Lab in Doonally just after midday today.

It’s in opposition to any potential threat to the facility.

A recent report commissioned by the Department of Agriculture is understood to recommend to half the number of such labs around the country leaving just Athlone, Backweston in Kildare and Cork in operation.

That would mean a round trip of hundreds of kilometres to bring dead animals for post-mortems and to avail of the many other vital services provided at these facilities for the farming community.

The issue caused some debate in the Dail yesterday night and was raised by Sligo Leitrim TDs FG Tony McLoughlin, FF’s Marc MacSharry and Independent Roscommon Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

Deputy McLoughlin says if these recommendations were to go ahead it would leave no lab on the whole of the western side of the country:

Deputy MacSharry said reports that a new depot style truck pick-up service similar to ones introduced in some countries in Europe simply would not work here in Ireland:

Responding to these concerns Minister Andrew Doyle said that no decision has been made but when it is it will be based on the best interests of the service taking costs into consideration:

Today’s demonstration will coincide with the arrival of senior officials from the Department to meet staff at the facility in Sligo.

It takes place outside the lab in Doonally between 12:30pm and 2:30pm today