Veterinary Ireland expresses concern at Government’s Brexit readiness

Veterinary Ireland has expressed concern over the Government’s preparedness for the provision of veterinary inspection services at Irish ports and/or borders in the event of Brexit.

According to a statement from Veterinary Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s plan is to supplement permanent veterinary inspectorate with private veterinary practitioners to meet the additional needs in the context of Brexit.

However, Veterinary Ireland has said there has been “no meaningful engagement” from the Government on the arrangements to be put in place.

According to the president of Veterinary Ireland, Dr. David MacGuinness: “The department has unilaterally sought to contract private veterinary practitioners for up to 40 hours per week to undertake portal inspection duties.

This would have a huge impact on the availability of veterinary services to our farming community and the public.

“The department’s proposals would see private veterinary practitioners being removed from an already overstretched veterinary service serving the needs of the farming community and the public which includes the provision of 24-hour emergency care, into full-time positions at border inspection posts.”

According to Veterinary Ireland: “This would undermine the availability of veterinary services to the farming community and the public and would impact adversely on the ability of practices to deliver these services while undermining out-of-hours rotas for existing vets.

It is important to ensure that any arrangements put in place in the context of border inspection post duties do not impact negatively on the availability and capacity of farmed animal veterinary services across the country.

Veterinary Ireland’s chief executive, Finbarr Murphy said: “The existing Temporary Veterinary Inspector (TVI) model and agreement which allows for the engagement of private veterinary practitioners on a part-time basis would better meet the objectives of the department and vets in practice whilst complementing the provision of veterinary services to the farming community and the public.”

Concluding, Veterinary Ireland urged the Department of Agriculture to enter into “immediate and meaningful discussions” on the most appropriate manner in which to meet the additional requirements that will arise in the context of Brexit.