“All further works should cease pending full anaysis”. Socialist Party TD Clare Daly has stated that the government is costing the taxpayer millions by its failure to address serious questions around the planned move of Teagasc from Kinsealy to Ashtown. She was responding to a debate she had with the Minister for Agriculture in the Dail recently.
Deputy Daly said, “The Minister totally dodged the issues posed. On the one hand he said that these matters were for Teagasc to deal with and it would be inappropriate for him to interfere. On the other, when pressed he admitted that he had a role. This is just not good enough. Of course the Minister has a role. This organisation is funded from the public purse and operates under his Department. Re-iterating statements made previously by Teagasc management is not good enough. Particularly when it has been alleged that this move will cost the state millions in unnecessary expenditure for facilities that already exist in Kinsealy.
In fact contrary to what the Minister said, that combining operations will involve cost savings, everything needed exists in Kinsealy. The Minister failed to answer why €2.5 million is being spent to upgrade classrooms in the Botanic Gardens, when these classrooms already exist in Kinsealy. The practical work will have to continue in Kinsealy because the Ashtown site is too small and more land will have to be acquired. In these austere times, when budgets are being cut and ordinary people faced with vicious cuts, this is even doubly disgraceful. These matters are already before the Dail Public Accounts Committee. All further works should stop until it is fully investigated.”
She concluded, “Fine Gael & Labour promised reform. Before the election, Minister Reilly said if elected he would ensure that this move would be halted. A year on, and the sound of silence is deafening. Enough is enough. Kinsealy is the prime site for horticultural research and should be developed, rather than ridiculous waste of public money in the planned move.”