Operational costs of Regional Vet Labs to equal €4.8 million this year

The operational costs of Regional Veterinary Laboratories (RVLs) is expected to equal €4.8 million in 2017, according to the latest figures released.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine outlined that no specific budget allocation is made for RVLs, as they are funded from the general department laboratories budget.

All 2017 figures are estimated based on previous years’ spend, the department added.

Payroll costs – which include ancillary costs of employment, such as employers’ PRSI, and overtime payments – make up the largest portion of the operational costs.

This figure is expected to rise to €3.49 million this year, an increase of close to €6,000 on 2016 figures.

Over the 3-year period from 2014 to 2016, the average operational costs of the RVLs equalled €4.556 million.

After payroll costs, the spend on consumables was the next biggest contributor to the RVLs overall budget over the last few years; with expenditure ranging from €1 million to €1.2 million.

Other costs regularly incurred included energy costs and expenditure on landscaping.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has called for funding to be made available to upgrade the facilities and enhance the services provided to farmers on the six strategically located Regional Veterinary Laboratory sites in the Republic of Ireland.

The calls were made as part of the IFA’s budget 2018 submission, which was published earlier this year.

As it stands, there are six RVLs operating in counties Sligo, Westmeath, Limerick, Cork, Kilkenny and Kildare.

Earlier this year a number of protests occurred outside these RVLs, as a review was being carried out by the department. It was initially feared that one or more of the labs could be closed as a result of this review.

No decision resulting from the review carried out by department officials has been revealed as of yet.