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HomeFarming NewsDepartment of Ag hiring
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
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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Department of Ag hiring

The Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, has begun recruiting for a bacteriologist within the grade of assistant agricultural inspector.

The position is in the Plant Health Laboratory, DAFM Backweston laboratories, Celbridge, County Kildare.


According to the job listing, the successful candidate will be part of the plant health team which includes the disciplines of mycology, nematology, entomology, pest risk assessment, honeybee pathology, and molecular biology.

They will be responsible for developing and implementing the Laboratory functions for bacteriology, including statutory testing, research, and provision of expert advice, in collaboration with the wider Plant Science Division.

Furthermore, will work closely with control and policy-orientated Divisions in achieving the strategic objectives of the DAFM in this area as well as outreach to external stakeholders.

The successful candidate may be allocated one or a combination of the following tasks:

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  • Diagnostics and scientific input into official control samples, surveillance and contingency planning;
  • Engagement with the EURL and manage National Reference Laboratory functions pertaining to Bacteriology, which includes the undertaking of Interlaboratory Studies, engage with the EURL and the NRL network, assist official laboratory (e.g. provide advice and training, auditing), assist the MS in the diagnosis of outbreaks of pests of plants
  • Maintaining and developing expertise in plant bacteriology through research collaboration nationally and internationally;
  • Providing expertise and inputting into strategic and policy decisions in the area of Plant Science;
  • Representing DAFM in aspects of plant bacteriology and plant health at EU fora (e.g. EURL, EPPO) and working closely with other EU experts including NRLs in developing new plant health diagnostics;
  • Leadership, management and training of staff;
  • Establishment and maintenance of ISO17025:2017 accreditation within the laboratory.
Essential requirements:

Candidates must, on or before, April 15th, 2021:

Hold a primary degree qualification at Level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) in science, with microbiology or a biological science with a strong focus on microbiology taken as a major element in the final year subject in the final degree, with


  • A minimum 2.2 Honours result (i.e. Grade Point Average equivalent to or greater than 2.48 out of 4.20 in their level 8 degree),


  • An additional and higher qualification (Masters or PhD) within a discipline pertinent to the role that is acceptable to the Department.
  • Post-graduate qualification in microbiology or in a closely related biological science pertinent to the role (e.g. plant bacteriology). Relevant post-graduate research and/or working experience in bacteriology may count towards this requirement;
  • Expert knowledge and/or experience in detecting, extracting and/or isolating and culturing bacterial pathogens directly from the plant matrices;
  • Expert knowledge and/or experience in optimisation and validation of molecular methods (e.g. DNA extractions, real-time PCR, conventional PCR) for the detection of bacteria directly from infected matrices or/and from isolates;
  • Expert knowledge and/or experience of molecular typing of bacterial isolates (e.g. Xylella fastidiosa isolates);
  • Expert knowledge and/or experience in the identification of bacteria using methods such as biochemical, microscopy, physiological and nutritional tests;
  • Expert knowledge or experience in performing bacterial pathogenicity assays for confirmatory purposes;
  • Experience of statutory testing, especially in the area of plant health.

According to the DAFM, the salary scale for this position, with effect from July 30th, 2020 is as follows: €34,650, €37,456, €38,383, €41,501, €44,622, €47,743, €49,668, €51,592, €53,522, €55,447, €57,374, €59,303, €61,224, €63,158 (NMAX), €65,302 (LSI1), €67,440 (LSI2

How to apply

You can download an application form by clicking here.

You must complete all sections of the form in Word document format and submit by way of email to – [email protected] – with the subject heading Bacteriologist.

Closing date

You must submit your completed application form no later than 4pm on Thursday, April 15th, 2021.

You can find more information about this position by clicking here.

Alternatively, to find out more about other Department of Ag jobs, see here.


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