Laois/Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen is demanding clarity on reports that the Government is shutting down the only Department of Agriculture Office in County Offaly.
Deputy Cowen has claimed that staff at the regional office in Tullamore have been told that the facility is being closed, and they must move to the nearest Department of Agriculture office in Cavan, or seek to be transferred elsewhere.
“This will come as a major shock not just to staff, but to the entire farming community in Co Offaly and beyond. It means the loss of more local jobs and the loss of yet another important local service that has served this community well for years,” said Deputy Cowen.
“We need clarity from the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney immediately about what exactly is going on here. It looks like the Tullamore office is being shut down completely. It’s a busy office dealing with queries, applications, appeals and other services on behalf of thousands of farmers across the Midlands. What’s the rationale for shutting it down?” commented Deputy Cowen.
The Fianna Fail TD stated that it needs to be made clear what arrangements are being put in place to maintain the service that this office provides to local farmers adding that this was happening without consultation and without warning.
He remarked, “It will cause a great deal of distress to local farmers who will be left wondering where they go now with their queries and applications for support. I am calling on Minister Coveney to make a statement on this matter without delay. It’s seems to me that this is yet another sneaky attack on our local services.”