31 July 1997 Edition

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Closure of Ballinamore Teagasc Centre

Sinn Féin Councillor Liam McGirl says he is appalled by the proposed closure of the Teagasc Model Farm in Ballinamore, County Leitrim. He says it is tragedy for the workers involved who will lose much-needed jobs.

It is also tragic for the future of agriculture in South Leitrim. This closure is a big psychological blow to families. It is sending a signal that Leitrim and agriculture in the area is no longer a priority. This is a worrying trend with Leitrim's falling population and lack of real employment.

Councillor McGirl said he feared that eh management in Teagasc who were all Cork and Dublin based did not understand the needs of Leitrim and the vital importance of the family farm in the West. Central government and agencies such as Teagasc had apparently given up on Leitrim. They were allowing so called ``market forces to dictate the future and this was bad for the people of Leitrim. It led only to emigration, depopulation and decline. Afforestation was replacing agriculture. It was getting all the incentive and it was very destructive to Leitrim and was a hindrance to the survival of the county dn its people and Leitrim, he hoped will fight back. Councillor McGirl said he would be joining with others to try at this late stage to save jobs at the Model Farm.

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