Roscommon DVO will not close, department

The Roscommon District Veterinary Office (DVO) will not close, according to the Department of Agriculture this week.

In a statement from the department, it said the Roscommon office would be considered for a transfer of administrative functions to another regional office but that “frontline services would be fully maintained”.

Last week a delegation from the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, ICSA Ireland, met with the department to discuss the possibility of the Roscommon DVO closing.

Several DVOs around the country have already closed, including Clare and Limerick, with services moving to Naas in Co Kildare, it has been reported.

Opposition

Farmer Charles Clarke and member of the ICSA Ireland stated its opposition to the Roscommon DVO closing at the meeting, citing a lack of broadband infrastructure in Roscommon and distance from Naas as important factors.

“For one thing, the broadband infrastructure in the county is very poor so in many cases switching to online forms is simply not an option. That’s before you consider that there are a great many older farmers in the area who would not be familiar enough with computerised systems to be able to carry out their business online. For them, being able to go into the public office and get help from an experience member of staff is invaluable. On top of that, the sheep recording system is not yet available online.”

“There is also the distance issue – it seems the department had plans to move the public services to Naas and that would be an enormous distance to travel for Roscommon farmers.”Clarke also highlighted the fears of local vets that the loss of the local DVO would jeopardise the progress that has been made on issues such as TB eradication in the area.

Redeployment

According to the department, the redeployment of administrative services at Roscommon is due to “significant efficiencies that have already arisen as a result of the department in IT in recent years, the number of staff required to deliver the service in the local offices has been considerably reduced”.

In the statement today it also said that the closure of other DVOs in the country has not had negative implications on farmers in the affected areas and it has no plans at present to close Roscommon DVO.

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