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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Need for second vet med school as labour crisis deepens

A group of veterinary practitioners – under the Veterinary Work Group name – have called for a second vet medicine school in Ireland to address the current labour shortage.

Currently, University College Dublin (UCD) is Ireland’s only veterinary medicine education provider, with one-third of the VCI’s current register of vets qualifying outside of Ireland.

Data – that the VCI (Veterinary Council of Ireland – supplied to That’s Farming – shows that in the region of 75 vets from the National University of Ireland (UCD) generally join the register annually.

Meanwhile, the number of vets qualifying from other educational institutions and joining the VCI’s register make up the majority, averaging 128 vets over the last five years, as outlined in this news article.

Studying veterinary medicine 

UCD’s CAO point range from 2022 stood at 601-625 for a total of 82 places for the five-year course (CAO code: DN300).

Undergraduate students applying through the CAO must also receive a H5 in chemistry, an O6/H7 in English, Irish and Maths, a third language, and one other recognised subject, along with fulfilling the practical work experience requirement.

Currently, the Higher Education Authority is seeking expressions of interest from high education institutions across the island to expand their course offerings in the academic year 2024-2025 or 2025-2026.

According to a statement from the HEA, the aim is to build capacity in veterinary and other fields such as nursing, medicine, pharmacy and dentistry to “respond swiftly to national skills needs”.

The deadline for the expression of interest process is 4 pm on Friday, November 18th, 2022.

The application form includes a report on the rationale for submitting an EOI in the chosen disciplinary area, details of the capability to deliver the new/expanded course, any potential barriers/risks and an initial cost assessment.

A spokesperson has confirmed that an expression of interest in veterinary nursing “will also be considered” under the current process.

Then, DFHERIS and HEA will select potential providers that will then submit a formal application, which an expert panel and the authority will review by mid-January 2-23.

VCI’s stance

That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, contacted the VCI (Veterinary Council of Ireland) to request a statement in relation to the delivery of veterinary medicine education in Ireland and the possibility of a second vet school in the country.

A spokesperson for the Veterinary Council of Ireland provided the following commentary exclusively to this publication:

“The Veterinary Council, as the independent statutory body tasked with accreditation of programmes of veterinary education in Ireland, will be pleased to apply our accreditation assessment and standards to any new applicant programmes of veterinary medicine.”

“The Veterinary Council, as the competent authority accrediting any programmes that meet requirements, ensure the high standards of veterinary medicine enjoyed in Ireland,” the spokesperson added.

You can read our Ireland’s Vets series, where we profile mixed, large, small and equine vets or our Vet Student series.

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