Tánaiste Visit to Teagasc Ashtown
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD recently visited the Teagasc Ashtown Research Centre in Dublin to view the significant investment and future development plans relating to the food and horticultural facilities there.
The Tánaiste was accompanied by Ministers of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon TD.
The main focus of the Food Research programme at Teagasc Ashtown is in driving food innovation in meat and meat products, prepared consumer foods, seafoods and horticultural products while maintaining quality, safety and nutrition.
The visit showcased the newly extended National Prepared Consumer Food Centre and the state of the art facilities and equipment housed there, which have been funded by a €10 million Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine investment. It is a critical resource for the diverse Prepared Consumer Foods sector, facilitating industry-led research, and allowing companies to pilot new opportunities and address the challenges such as those posed by BREXIT.
The Meat Technology Ireland Centre is also hosted at Teagasc Ashtown and has been funded to the value of €8.2 million by Enterprise Ireland and Irish beef and sheep meat processing companies over the past 5 years. The delegation were briefed by the Assistant Director of Research in Teagasc, Declan Troy, on this world-class collaboration which includes a significant applied research programme.
The Teagasc Horticultural Development Department, which delivers research and advisory services to the Horticulture sector in Ireland, is centred in Ashtown. Facilities include entomology and pathology laboratories, a modern Glasshouse equipped with a myriad of production systems for research, and the Mushroom research unit, which supports a dedicated mushroom research and advisory programme. The visiting delegation were afforded the opportunity to see these facilities and understand more about the research and advisory services delivered to the commercial horticulture sector.
Forestry research is also conducted on the campus, notably on improving the genetic quality of Irish Birch and on the Ash dieback disease.
The Ashtown campus is a key resource in the delivery of the Teagasc Horticulture Education and Training programme, with the College of Amenity Horticulture at the National Botanic Gardens. The provision of modern, specialist facilities has secured a vital training resource for both industry and for the students that attend the Horticulture courses from Certificate up to Degree level.