Veterinary Ireland members to ballot on new deal

Veterinary Ireland (VI) members are to be balloted this week after an agreement was reached between it and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in the dispute that arose between the parties over the provision of new arrangements for delivery of the meat inspection service.

Speaking to AgriLand, Conor Geraghty of Veterinary Ireland said members would have one week to vote from Wednesday (January 23) when ballot papers will be posted out.

He also pointed to the fact that members were being advised to accept the deal that was on the table.

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“Tuesday week the ballots will be counted. A meeting in respect of the matter was held last Thursday night and we are holding another one tomorrow night [Tuesday, January 22] in Mullingar where we will be advising our members to accept the deal,” Geraghty added.

Meanwhile, he said the outcome so far was positive and was one that would help all parties involved in the dispute to move forward.

The dispute arose in the first instance because VI acknowledged the “worrying shortage” of Temporary Veterinary Inspectors (TVIs) on meat factory panels.

The panels were closed by the department in 2012 and subsequently never reopened. VI wants new TVIs to be recruited on the same terms that current inspectors are on.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) issued a statement welcoming the new agreement, while the Ibec group said it hoped to see an immediate restoration of cover so that normal processing activity could be undertaken.

“It is regrettable that so much disruption to a number of plants took place over the last month, which has given rise to significant costs and lost business for those operations,” a spokesperson for the group concluded.