Cahill to propose bill to ‘amend legislation on ownership of vet practices’

A bill is to be brought forward by Fianna Fáil to amend the Veterinary Practice Act 2005-2012 with the objective of confining ownership of veterinary practices to registered veterinary practitioners.

Set to be proposed by Fianna Fáil spokesperson for food and horticulture Jackie Cahill, this would “ensure that the registered veterinary practitioner in charge is an integral part of the ownership structure”.

Speaking of his intention, deputy Cahill said: “It is also my intention to protect veterinary practices for the benefit of the Irish consumer.

In recent years we have seen how corporate ownership has impacted on the retail pharmacy industry where the local community pharmacist has been marginalised.

“This course of action has been necessitated by the recent encroachment of lay corporate entities into the ownership and operation of veterinary practices in Ireland.

“Confining ownership of veterinary practices to registered practitioners also ensures that all aspects of the practice of veterinary medicine can be regulated by the Veterinary Council of Ireland.”

The Tipperary TD said that the Veterinary Council of Ireland has conceded that it has no role in the regulation of lay owners, making these changes necessary to safeguard the public and animal health and welfare.

“Whilst the Veterinary Practice Act remains silent on ownership of veterinary practices, and lay corporates continue to acquire Irish veterinary practices, the resultant damage to the Irish industry will be a poorer and vastly more expensive service to the Irish consumer.

What we are proposing is that a veterinary practice can only be owned in the Republic of Ireland by registered veterinary practitioners.

“The bill we are proposing will amend the legislation to reflect this.

“The objective is to ensure we have an efficient, affordable and regulated veterinary service in this country that fulfils the needs of the Irish consumer and is protective of animal health and welfare and public health,” deputy Cahill concluded.

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