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Record number of vets in Ireland in 2019

2019 was a record year for the highest number of veterinary practitioners in Ireland, exceeding 2,900 for the first time since the establishment of the council’s register.

That is according to the latest annual report from the Veterinary Council of Ireland. 

The total number of veterinary practitioners increased to 2,907 by the end of the year, an increase from 2,818 in 2018.

Landmark year

Niamh Muldoon, registrar and chief executive of the Veterinary Council of Ireland, said: “2019 was a landmark year for the Veterinary Council. We now have the highest number of vets ever in Ireland, showing the opportunities available in the veterinary professions and the robust health of the industry.”

“There are many challenges still ahead of us in 2020 and beyond, and we look forward to working with our registrants to meet them head-on”.

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The total number of veterinary nurses also increased in 2019 to 1,038 by year-end, up from 935 in 2018. The number of certified veterinary practice premises increased to 765, up from 748 the previous year.


2019 saw a number of major developments for the Veterinary Council, including:

  • The appointment of a new Registrar and Chief Executive, Niamh Muldoon, in April 2019;
  • The Council launched its corporate strategy for 2019-2023, taking into account feedback from registrants and stakeholders;
  • The Council established a mutual recognition agreement with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, allowing for vets who qualify in Ireland to practise in Britain following its departure from the EU;
  • The commission of a report by Grant Thornton into the issue of corporate ownership of veterinary practices, taking into account stakeholder feedback and legal advice;
  • Following this, The Council’s Code of Professional Conduct was updated to reflect that the Veterinary Council has no legal role in the ownership of Veterinary Practices;
  • The Council hosted a stand at the National Ploughing Championships for the first time;
  • The Council held an election for four Veterinary Practitioner seats at the Council table in October. The successful candidates were: Mr Séamus (James Kevin) McManus, Mr Patrick Gerard Cusack, Mr Arthur O’Connor, and Mr Ian Fleming.


The council received 32 applications for inquiries into fitness to practise in 2019, showing an increase from 28 in 2018, with 65% of those complaints related to cats or dogs. The committee determined and concluded 28 out of the 32 cases received.


Joe Moffitt, President of the Veterinary Council of Ireland said: “The Veterinary Council remains resolute in its commitment to deliver on its aims and objectives in ensuring trusted and effective veterinary regulation in the years ahead.

“I look forward to working with my esteemed Council colleagues, executive team and stakeholders in the months ahead to continue our engagement and influence in the best interests of animal health and welfare, and public health.”

The Veterinary Council of Ireland has set their objectives for the coming years. These include:

  • Lead animal health and welfare in line with One Health, One Welfare initiatives;
  • Maintain confidence of the public and veterinary professions in the VCI processes;
  • Enable good professional practice and professionalism through education;
  • Support the health and well-being of registrants;
  • Support and develop the role of the veterinary nurse;
  • Enhance, influence and inform policy through insightful research and meaningful engagement.

The Veterinary Council’s annual report for 2019 can be accessed here.

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