The Northern Ireland government’s decision to retain the country’s veterinary diagnostic unit in Omagh, Co Tyrone, has been welcomed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) as a vital move in keeping a facility which is of “paramount importance” to the local farming industry.
“Without the Omagh unit, vast areas to the west of the province would be left without effective surveillance,” said BVA Northern Ireland branch president, Simon Doherty (pictured above).
While recognising the budgetary pressures that had put the unit at risk in the first place, he voiced his members “high-level concerns” over the need to maintain adequate levels of disease surveillance and investigation in the area, alongside diagnostic services to support a local industry which has huge export market potential.
He also pointed out that the unit was vital in protecting the industry in an emergency response situation, should an epizootic disease outbreak occur.
While the laboratory will continue to provide its existing range and geographic coverage of animal disease diagnostic services, it’s believed that some ancillary services will be centralised at the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute’s Stormont laboratory as part of a number of internal efficiency measures.