Department's multi-million euro lab to deal with Foot and Mouth runs over budget
A new multi-million euro laboratory, which is being constructed by the Department of Agriculture to handle serious animal disease outbreaks such as Foot and Mouth, has run over budget before completion.
The new lab, which the Department is building in collaboration with the Office of Public Works, is a high containment laboratory at Backweston and is designed to enhance Ireland’s capability to diagnose of exotic viral diseases of farmed animals.
The Department made the decision to upgrade a pre-existing laboratory space within its Backweston Laboratory Complex, in Dublin on the back of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in the UK in 2007 attributable to an escape of live virus from a facility in Pirbright.
A specialist US engineering firm was contracted to carry out the works and ensure the integrity of the design and to have confidence that the project would deliver a facility to the required certified standard.
The tendered cost of the main building works were €4.9m excluding VAT.
However, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, confirmed this week that during the construction works an underlying issue in the fabric of the original building was discovered.
“Although this does not affect the stability of the structure, it had the potential to compromise containment,” he said.
The Minster confirmed that the engineering solution to rectify this problem and the associated project delays have cost an additional €219,572.