Port and airport vets won’t be hired until 2019

Despite the Taoiseach’s announcement during the summer, when he said vets would be hired to man Irish ports and airports, the recruitment process has yet to begin.

Leo Varadkar announced in July that, as part of the Government’s preparations for Brexit, 1,000 vets and customs officials would be hired “over the course of the next year”.

However, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, these officials won’t be recruited until next year, much closer to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

In accordance with the Government’s decision of September 18, 2018, [the department] has sanction to commence recruitment of an additional complement of staff in 2019 across a number of grades and disciplines, including the veterinary sphere. Provision has been made in this regard in the 2019 Budget.

The draft agreement for Brexit, announced this week, aims for a ‘soft Brexit’, but the Taoiseach had been expecting that and said we had to be prepared nonetheless.

When he announced the recruitment drive, he said that a hard, no-deal Brexit was “very unlikely”, but notwithstanding that, he added that “we have to be prepared for that possibility”.

“People would expect any government to be prudent and to prepare for things – even though they are very unlikely; we need to prepare for that contingency,” said the Taoiseach.

“That contingency” could be more likely than the Taoiseach anticipated though; there have already been a number of resignations in the British government, sparking fears that Theresa May’s ‘soft Brexit’ could be shot down by the UK parliament.