History of the Laboratory
The State Laboratory was established in 1924 to provide an analytical and advisory service to the newly formed Irish Government. It resulted from an amalgamation of the laboratory of the Revenue Commissioners, then located in the Custom House, with the chemistry laboratory of the Department of Agriculture which was housed in Government Buildings in Merrion Street.
The State Laboratory remained in Merrion Street for almost 60 years and during that period its functions expanded from its origins in revenue and agriculture to embrace most aspects of Government legislative activity which required the application of analytical expertise. This expansion is reflected in the increase in staff numbers from approximately 20 in the early years to almost 90 at present.
By the mid 1970's the premises had become inadequate for the demands imposed by EEC membership in terms of range of analytes and the sophistication of techniques employed. Expansion within Government Buildings was not possible and in any case the design was no longer suitable to the needs of a modern laboratory. Consequently it was decided that a new purpose built laboratory was necessary. A site was provided on Government land at Abbotstown, Co. Dublin and a new facility was opened in 1984.
In early 2000 it was once again felt that the laboratory was not suitable in size or design for the level of activity undertaken and a move to a new site, again on a Department of Agriculture estate, was planned. A new building has been constructed on the Backweston Campus near Celbridge and the laboratory moved to the new premises in April/May 2005.
Main Areas of Activity
The State Laboratory's main clients include the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (D/AFM); the Office of the Revenue Commissioners; the Coroners; and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).
The main areas of activity supported by the work of the Laboratory are:
• Agriculture and Food with an emphasis on food safety and quality.
• Compliance with Customs and Excise legislation.
• Coroners' Service.
• Controlling the use of Unlicensed Medicines.