Local representatives and farming organisations have vowed to fight plans to close Manorhamilton’s Teagasc office. The Leitrim Observer has learned that plans to close the office are “on the cards”, however the matter has yet to be passed by the Board.
By Leonie McKiernan
This is not the first time the future of the Manorhamilton office has been threatened. In 2003 the Teagasc Board announced an extensive list of planned office closures including the research farm at Ballinamore and the Manorhamilton office. While the dairy farm in Ballinamore was later sold the Manorhamilton Teagasc office was given a reprieve.
In May last year anchor tenants of the Teagasc office in Manorhamilton, Coillte, annouced plans to close its north Leitrim office. A spokesperson for Coillte confirmed earlier this week that this closure is expected to be finalised by the end of this month.
Speaking to the Leitrim Observer, Senator Michael Comiskey confirmed that the closure of the Manorhamilton Teagasc office was indeed “on the cards” but he stressed that the move still had to be approved by the Board.
“We’ll be fighting this tooth and nail. This is not a done deal,” he said. “I am very disappointed that this is even being considered especially in light of the fact that Teagasc have already closed offices in Carrick-on-Shannon and Sligo and they even moved staff from Sligo to Manorhamilton.”
Senator Marc MacSharry has angrily denouced any closure plans calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney to “immediately clarify” the Government’s plans for the Teagasc office in Manorhamilton.
“The Teagasc office in Sligo closed only a number of months ago and refurbishment works costing in the order of €40,000 were undertaken at the office in Manorhamilton to accommodate staff that were to move to the office as a result. Now there is genuine concern that the Manorhamilton office is also going to be closed,” he said.
“If the Manorhamilton Teagasc office closes it will have a significant impact on agricultural advice and training services carried out by the organisation locally. It will also be another hammer blow to the rural communities which depend on this office for assistance.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.