Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Possible closure of regional veterinary labs moves a step forward

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Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture has signed of on the terms of reference for a cost benefit analysis of new proposals which are understood to advocate the closure of a number his Department’s Regional Laboratories.

A working Group chaired by Professor Alan Reilly that had been tasked with undertaking a review of the Department’s Laboratories, presented its report to the Department late last year.

This report was made available to staff and other stakeholders - it makes a series of recommendations aimed at developing a long term strategy for the Department’s Laboratories and further developing existing capability and expertise.

Since the beginning of 2017, the Department has been involved in consultation on this report with its laboratory-based staff and their unions, and with other relevant stakeholders that avail of laboratory services and expertise, including other areas of the Department, other State Agencies, farmer representative bodies, etc.

The Department has progressed to implement some of the recommendations in the review, including the establishment of a Laboratory Services Advisory Board (LSAB), a sub-group of the Department’s Management Board, which met for the first time at end March 2017 and is tasked with providing oversight of the future strategic development of the laboratories.

To date, no decision has been made by the Department on options for the future development of the RVLs (as proposed by the Working Group).

However, the Minister has recently approved terms of reference for a cost benefit analysis (CBA) of the proposed options, for which the Department will procure an independent consultant with economic expertise.  

The Department stresses that any decision on the future of the RVLs will be informed by the consultative process referred to above and the findings of this CBA.

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