CHAIRPERSON of Limerick ICMSA Tom Blackburn has called on local farmers to meet at the Regional Veterinary Lab at Knockalisheen on Wednesday when a review group from the Department of Agriculture is expected at the facility.
It serves the farming community of Limerick, Clare, Kerry and North and Mid Tipperary.
Mr Blackburn said that the review group was expected to decide on a possible closure of the vet lab - one of the busiest in the State – a development that he said would be “a very serious blow” to one of the most intensive farming and food producing areas in Ireland.
In the event of it being closed, the Limerick ICMSA chair said that local farmers would be expected to travel to Athlone or Cork, which would represent “an inexcusable degradation of a vital piece of regional agri-infrastructure at precisely the time when local farmers and the critically important food production sector needs reassurance and support”.
Mr Blackburn said the idea that one of the State’s foremost food production areas and one of Europe’s most intensive dairying districts would be left without an official veterinary lab was “mind-boggling” and he promised that ICMSA would resist any efforts to reduce further the number of regional vet labs which now stood at a “paltry” six for the whole State.
He appealed for local farmers from whatever organisation to join local members of ICMSA at the Regional Veterinary Lab at Knockalisheen this Wednesday at 10am to send "an unmistakable message" that Limerick and the wider Mid-West demands that this vital support for our biggest economic activity - farming and food production – be kept.