County Clare is being neglected once again – BREEN.

July 24th, 2009 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen questioned today why County Clare is being neglected once again. Deputy Breen’s comments follow the news that the Local Agriculture Office in Ennis is set to close which will force Clare farmers to travel to Raheen in Limerick to do their business. Deputy Breen has also questioned long-term economic sense of vacating the Ennis Office which is owned by the State to move into rented accommodation in Limerick and claims that the recommendations of An Bord Snip are being implemented without any discussion.

“County Clare is being neglected once again”, Deputy Breen said. “How is it that Clare is the only county in Munster which will not have an Agricultural Office based in the County after this re-structuring plan, while the Offices in Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Tipperary are being enhanced?”

“We have already lost our Hospital Services to Limerick and now our farmers are the latest in the firing line.”

“Where is the long-term economic sense of vacating the Ennis Office which is owned by the State to move to rental accommodation in Limerick?”.

“The Agricultural Office in Ennis provided a valuable and comprehensive service to the farmers here in County Clare. It was a very busy office, the entire TB eradication Scheme was run from this office and all queries relating to the various Farm payment Schemes, like the Single Payments for instance were dealt with on a one to one basis.”

“Farming now involves a lot of complicated Form Filling and farmers like to have this one to one assistance which was provided at the Ennis office. They had built up a good relationship with the staff and it is important to have a local link between the Department and farmers. It was also very convenient and often farmers who came to Ennis for the Mart went over to do their business on the same day. If this plan goes ahead Clare Farmers will be forced to travel across the City to Dept’s Office in Limerick which is ridiculous.”

“To suggest that Farmers will go on line to do their business is rubbish as they prefer dealing with their Local Office. It seems that more any more we are being met by machines as we go about our daily lives, but, there is no replacement for the personal contact on a one to basis when you have a query.”

“It also appears that the recommendations of An Bord Snip Nua are being implemented without any discussion as the Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes recommends the rationalisation of the Local Department of Agriculture and Food offices.”

“We are tired of playing second fiddle to other counties here in County Clare and I am now calling on the Minister Tony Killeen, Minister of State at the Dept. of Agriculture and Food to exert pressure on his Ministerial colleague, Minister Brendan Smith T.D to have this decision reversed. We want to maintain our local farm services here in County Clare.