Updated: 10/02/17 : 06:27:35
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Petition to save Sligo's Veterinary Lab underway

A farmer from Co Sligo has set up a petition to save to the Department of Agriculture's regional veterinary laboratory (RVL) in Sligo.

Trevor Boland, a part-time suckler farmer from Dromard in Co Sligo, has set up a petition to save Sligo’s RVL.

The move comes after the Irish Farmers Journal revealed last month that the regional veterinary laboratories (RVLs) are subject to a major internal review headed by Professor Alan Reilly, the former chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Irish Farmers Journal summarised the report into three main recommendations:

The first was to keep all six RVLs in Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny, Backweston, Sligo and Athlone open.

The second was to, in time, close Limerick, Sligo and Kilkenny, with an upgrading of the facilities at the other three labs.

The third was to close all bar Backweston and put out a fleet of vans on the road to carry out the roles of vets in the various RVLs.

Farmers' request

Boland, alongside local vet Annett Siggins and Sligo IFA, has worded the petition to the effect that the “farmers of the North West of Ireland request that the RVL in Sligo remains open to serve the farmers of the West and North West region”.

Post-mortems are often carried out within 24 hours of the animals death, therefore improving the chances of diagnostic results and fast treatment response

The petition says that laboratory provides “a vital service to the farming community in Counties Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and further afield”.

It goes on to say that post mortems are often carried out within 24 hours of the animals death, therefore improving the chances of diagnostic results and fast treatment response.

“Also emergencies like downer cows benefit immensely from same day results (blood taken to getting the result) to assist for the correct treatment. Fast acting and fast results play an important part of animal health and welfare.

“It is a vital part of the farming infrastructure in these counties providing services to farmers, vets and others involved in disease eradication and surveillance.”


Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Trevor Boland said that he hopes to get as many signatures as possible before the Department of Agriculture goes to Sligo for a meeting with Sligo RVL staff and the IFA at the end of the month.

“As well as the online petition we also have a paper petition going around,” he said. “We want to show the Department how much support there is among farmers for the RVL in Sligo. It really is of vital importance to farmers from Donegal to Sligo. If this RVL closes the nearest one to us will be in Athlone and that will affect the speed of post-mortem tests and their results.”

Anyone who wants to sign the petition can do so HERE