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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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‘You do not need 625 points’ – retired vet

Retired vet, Gerard Roarty, Co Donegal, believes that “too few students from farming backgrounds can get into the country’s only veterinary medicine school”.

He was speaking as part of RTÉ Radio 1’s segment ‘farmers concerned about vet shortages’ by Carole Coleman on Thursday, May 4th, 2023.

“You do not need 625 points to lie on your belly in a shed in Glencomille or Gortahork, or Glenswilly at 4 o’clock in the morning,” he told Coleman.

“In fact, someone with 625 points will probably do that once and head back to Dublin.”

Out of the hundreds of aspiring vets who completed work placement at his practice, he said, “few earned the required CAO points for the island’s only veterinary medicine school”.

“One of them got the points to go to UCD’s vet school. I have no doubt that the vast majority of those 400-500 kids would have been fantastic vets.”

“Yet, at the same time, we could not attract people to come to Donegal to work in cattle medicine, so we have to look at the admissions process.”

“I question why suc a wealthy country has to export so many of our kids overseas to study veterinary medicine.”

However, Professor Eoin Ryan, who also appeared in the segment, stated that more college places will not lower CAO point requirements because “demand will remain high”.

You can read his views in this news article.

Coping with staff shortages in the veterinary sector

Meanwhile, vets and vet practice owners have outlined how they believe the sector could cope with staff shortages in HLB Sheehan Quinn’s fifth annual report on veterinary practices, which the firm published on Tuesday, March 29th, 2022.

Respondents were asked to suggest actions the profession could take to address staff shortages.

According to the results, just under 49% of the suggestions they put forward mentioned pay and conditions.

Meanwhile, 22% referenced vet school intake, while 6% of all respondents believe in career support.

Collaboration/scale, managing expectations and CPD/training both secured 5% each of the total vote.

Meanwhile, recruitment abroad and lay staff accounted for 3% each, while a mere 2% of respondents believe representation/lobbying are the answer to addressing staff shortages.

The report also highlighted that a shortage of vets in Ireland has necessitated “significant” salary increases and benefits.

70% of practice owners, who participated in the survey, revealed that they are offering “attractive” salary/conditions to attract/retain staff.

A further 20% are offering mentoring/training, while the remainder answered ‘effective’ leadership.

Read more on this news article.

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