The current Covid-19 pandemic represents a huge national health challenge. Like many agencies and organisations, Teagasc stands ready to contribute in any way possible and necessary and has made this known to the relevant authorities through our parent Department, Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Teagasc has many expert staff with relevant laboratory skills and other physical resources which could be of assistance. To date, we have been asked to assist in two main ways: to provide staff who could assist with Covid-19 testing in a designated laboratory, and to provide PPE equipment to front line medical staff.
We have compiled an inventory of staff with relevant expertise who volunteered to work in testing labs and we are liaising with the Department, Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the National Virus Reference Laboratory (UCD) to assign staff to where they are needed the most.
In addition, we are working with Dublin and Cork hospitals to facilitate the transfer of surplus PPE from our facilities such as gloves, face masks and shoe covers to front line staff. We have also offered Teagasc buildings in our agriculture colleges for use if necessary.
At the same time, we are very conscious of continuing our core Teagasc business of research, advisory and education services to the agriculture and food industries. Food is obviously a critical industry and it is imperative that we continue to support farmers and others as they produce and process food for our shops and tables during this difficult time.
We are continuing priority research projects in our labs and farms with some scaling back and/or rescheduling of measurements. We have contingency plans in place across all our centres, colleges and advisory regions to ensure continuity of service as far as possible. We will continually monitor the situation and update and adapt our plans as the situation evolves.
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