Coveney stops veterinary centre closure

Patsy McArdle

THE high level of bovine TB and brucellosis in livestock herds in Northern Ireland has led to a decision by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to veto a proposal by his ministerial predecessor, Brendan Smith, to shut down a Department veterinary centre at Ballybay, Co Monaghan.

Just one week before the planned closure of the Ballybay-based service, Mr Coveney announced his intention to keep the centre in operation, to continue to monitor disease levels in the North and prevent any further spread of bovine disease into the Republic.

The minister confirmed his decision in a letter to party colleague, lawyer and Fine Gael deputy for Cavan/Monaghan Sean Conlan, who said yesterday: "The minister's decision has led to a great air of relief for farmers in the Republic Border region, who are dependent on the range of services available at the Ballybay centre, which was originally scheduled to close next Friday.

"The minister has taken a very realistic and constructive approach, following the representations made to him, on behalf of the farming sector in counties Cavan and Monaghan."

Patsy McArdle

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