Vets slam Department of Agriculture's response to Bexit - where are the extra 300 vet jobs?

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Veterinary Officers Association has said it is becoming increasingly alarmed with the Department of Agriculture's response to the impending Brexit crisis and questioned where the 300 extra veterinary jobs announced by the Taoiseach are.

The Association, which represents vets employed by the Department of Agriculture, said that the 300 extra veterinary posts announced by an Taoiseach last October now seem illusory, while a number of Veterinary management posts, one of which has remained unfilled for seven years, are due to be filled.

The Association also says that rather than filling these posts through a mutually agreed mechanism that has operated seamlessly for 20 years, teh Department management has unilaterally decided to pick this moment to discard the agreement.

"Its effect will be to severely restrict mobility opportunities for Veterinary Officers Association members but more importantly, it distracts from the more urgent task of getting staff numbers up to the required levels at this critical time. It is a matter of deep concern to the Veterinary Officers Association that veterinary staffing still lags significantly behind pre-2011 levels.

Last year the Veterinary Officers Association agreed to enter a process of conciliation and arbitration with Department management on this issue, but said it is disappointed the Department has now decided to escalate the issue.

It said its executive will meet in the coming days to consider their response to the Department's action.

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