Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
173. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans in relation to the proposed ten-year renewal programme of the Regional Laboratory Network ; the current stage of the programme; the achievements planned in 2021 in relation to the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22535/21]
The Department has published an ambitious modernisation programme of its Regional Laboratories.
The Programme also includes establishing five transfer-to-laboratory centres to provide a carcase drop off/collection service at strategic locations around the country to extend the reach of laboratory services to the wider farming community and make the service more accessible on a nationwide basis.
The initial 10 - year plan covered the period 2019-2028, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on delivery of the programme and it is now anticipated that the first phase of the programme will be delivered by the end of 2022. The Department is working closely with the Office of Public Works (OPW) on delivering this first phase and this will include identifying suitable sites and commissioning two Transfer-to-Laboratory centres in the North East and the North West which are expected to be operational in 2022, subject to normal requirements associated with infrastructure projects. The Programme will be progressed in future years in line with budgetary allocations in the relevant years.