Up to 50 farmers from all over Munster represeting the ICMSA and the ICSA protesting outside the Regional Veterinary Laboratory in Meelick, Co. Clare on Wednesday as they are afraid that the Dept of Agriculture may be closing it.
The Deputy President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, has said that the association “rejects outright” the idea that any of the six remaining Regional Veterinary labs operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine could be closed as part of a review currently underway by a Departmental team. Mr McCormack was speaking from the Limerick facility located at Knockalisheen on the Clare side of the city which was picketed yesterday by several dozen members of ICMSA while the Department’s Review Team arrived.
“The idea that this lab, which serves Limerick, Clare, North & Mid Tipperary and all of Kerry from Kenmare to Listowel, would close with the thousands of affected farmers expected to make their way to Athlone or Bishopstown in Cork is downright bizarre and completely unacceptable. This is one of the most intensive farming and food production regions in the state and these labs are the ‘First Line’ in maintaining the reputation of our multi-billion euro food sector. We only have six veterinary labs for the whole state and Limerick is one of the busiest and, to our knowledge, the lab that handles most of the kidney selenium tissue testing for the whole state. ICMSA does not accept any suggestion that a vital piece of agri-infrastructure could be closed and we would regard that as a seriously retrograde step when all the evidence and logic tells you that the lab network servicing our crucial food and farming should actually be enhanced to deal with the serious challenges that we can all see coming down the line”.
Ends 15 February 2017
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Deputy President, ICMSA.
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office