Senator Marc Mac Sharry has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately reconsider plans to remove blood testing services from the regional laboratory in Sligo.
MacSharry says the move casts serious doubt over the future of the Sligo lab.
He explained, “I raised concerns about these plans a month ago, and now it seems the rumours were true. Blood testing is to be transferred from regional centres, including Sligo, to Minister Coveney’s home county of Cork.
“This is the thin end of the wedge, and it casts doubt over the laboratory’s future in Sligo. With the transfer of brucellosis and other blood testing to the central location in the Minister’s home county, farmers will now have to send samples to Cork. This will add significant delays for those who need to test regularly, particularly for export markets.
“The provision of post mortem and sample testing are critical in the continuing good health of the national herd. The closure of the regional services will undermine the potential to maintain the good health of the herd.
“It now seems clear that only BVD testing will be carried out in Sligo. This effectively cuts the numbers of tests down from in the region of 180,000 per annum to just 20,000 per annum. There is no doubt that local jobs will be put in jeopardy as a result.
“The Fine Gael/Labour Government are relentless in their contempt for rural Ireland. Their continuing marginalisation of rural communities through cuts to small schools; the closure of 100 additional Garda stations; the dismissal of the small famer with their CAP reform proposals; their discriminatory and unworkable commonage management plan; and now the closure of Blood Testing at the Sligo Lab.
“Enough is enough. I am calling on the Minister to immediately reverse plans for the transfer of blood testing to Cork from Sligo.”