Vets call for second school in Republic to address ‘chronic shortages’

Vets call for second school in Republic to address ‘chronic shortages’

A group of veterinary practitioners has called for a second vet school in the Republic to address a “chronic shortage” of vets, particularly in mixed practice in rural areas.

University College Dublin (UCD), which is the only institution on the island that offers veterinary courses only provides a small proportion of the vets needed and while plan for Northern Ireland’s first dedicated veterinary course have now been agreed is still years away from accepting students, with no base yet chosen.

The Veterinary Work Group calls for a second vet school in Munster, where students will be provided better education on farm animals.

At present a number of  veterinary students from the North and South study away from home as there are not enough places available on the course in UCD.

At present there are 260 students from the Republic in Poland, with others in Hungary and Slovakia.

Veterinary Working Group representative James Quinn said: “We are hoping that a new school with different methods of student selection and a different method of education, more similar to the new colleges in the UK, will produce graduates that will be more likely to take up farm-animal practice jobs.

“We are all aware of how hard it is to find people to work in large-animal practice, [so] we decided something needed to be done [as] the existing education system is failing to produce the number of graduates that are needed every year,”

The group recently met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin; Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue; and Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris to discuss the proposal.

“We are hopeful that an instruction will be given to the higher-education authority to put out a tender for a second school. University College Cork (UCC) and the University of Limerick (UL) are very interested in hosting a veterinary school,” Mr Quinn said.