When questioned on the closure of Tralee District Veterinary Office in the Dail recently, Minister for agriculture Simon Coveney was keen to emphasise that the office is not being closed down.

He said: “The position is that the administrative functions are being transferred to the Portlaoise office but the Department’s vets, inspectors and technical officers will remain in place at the existing local offices to service our clients across all of the schemes that are provided from these offices.

He stressed: “Front-line services will be fully maintained and public access for all of the Departments stakeholders will continue to be available in the Tralee office.”

Kerry based TD Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister the reason behind the proposed closure of the DVO office in Tralee and the effect it will have on farmers in County Kerry who have been dealing with this office for many years.

He questioned “If proposed cost savings are like the closure of the Garda stations and will it cost  more in the end to close and relocate this office.”

Minister Coveney outlined: “The transfer of the administrative functions out of the Tralee office arises from an extensive review of the local office structure which was carried out by the Department over the last number of years.

“This review concluded that, arising from investment in technology and the substantial reduction in disease levels in recent years, significant efficiencies would accrue from the centralisation of administrative functions in two centres, thereby giving rise to significant scope for redeployment of administrative staff from existing local offices. The process of centralising the administrative functions commenced in 2012 and is on-going.”

He added that the Department has actively sought redeployment opportunities for administrative staff in local Offices and staff have already been transferred from the local offices in Limerick, Tipperary, Enniscorthy and Waterford to other Departments and agencies.

The Minister concluded: “My Department will continue to maintain public offices in Tralee and, indeed, in all of the locations from which the administrative functions are being transferred. The centralisation of administrative support should not impact negatively upon local access and services for local customers.”

Image: Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine. Photo O’Gorman Photography