Brexit veterinary positions to be advertised in coming weeks

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed to AgriLand that the recruitment process for veterinary personnel at Irish ports and airports will begin in the coming weeks, when those posts are advertised.

The veterinary inspectors, along with customs officials, will be hired as a result of Brexit, according to a statement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in July 2018.

At the time, Varadkar said: “We do think that with Brexit now eight months away and growing uncertainty about whether it will be possible to get a withdrawal agreement through Westminster, that we do need to change the gear and up our preparations when it comes to Brexit.”

However, last month (December) the department confirmed that the recruitment of additional personnel would not begin until the first quarter of 2019, with Brexit now only three months away, as things stand.

The department spokesperson said that these new positions had not been advertised yet, but will be in the next few weeks, kicking off the recruitment process, which should see an additional 1,000 personnel hired over the course of 2019 to monitor shipments of goods, including food produce, through Irish ports and airports.

When the Taoiseach announced the plans, he envisaged that a no-deal Brexit was “very unlikely”, but added that “we have to be prepared for that possibility”.

Next Tuesday, January 15, a vote will take place in the UK parliament on whether or not to accept the withdrawal agreement that was negotiated between the government there and the EU.

The vote was originally scheduled for early December, but the Prime Minister, Theresa May, cancelled it at the last minute over fears it would be heavily defeated.

Should the vote be defeated on Tuesday, it would make the possibility of a no-deal Brexit more likely.