The State Laboratory is a scheduled office under the aegis of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which provides a chemical analytical and advisory service to clients across a range of Government Departments and Offices.
The results of its analytical testing are primarily used to:
Ensure Ireland’s food and feed meet EU standards and are thus suitable for export and consumption;
Support the Revenue in tax collection, particularly in collection of excise duties in the alcohol and motor fuel areas;
Support Coroners in investigation of unexplained deaths.
The State Laboratory operates in accordance with a documented quality system based on an international standard for competence of testing laboratories (ISO/IEC 17025) and is accredited by the Irish National Accreditation Board for specific areas of work.
The State Laboratory is an EU National Reference Laboratory for additives for use in animal nutrition, for dioxins and PCBs in food and animal feed, for heavy metals and mycotoxins in animal feed, and for veterinary residues and mycotoxins in food of animal origin.
The State Laboratory has a staff of approximately 100 people who are mainly professional and technical.
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.