Ireland’s second veterinary medicine school provider may welcome its first cohort of students to its doors in 2025 or 2026.
That is according to Dr Alan Wall, CEO of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), who addressed a recent sitting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food, and the Marine on Wednesday, May 10th, 2023, which met to discuss the widely reported call for a new school of veterinary medicine in Ireland.
Dr Wall explained that “on the timescale, we went out to the system on the basis that a 2025 or 2026 starting date was the one we were asking the universities to consider”.
“To be honest, we had to give them some notion of the time scale. We have submitted our report to the government and it is a matter for it.”
Deputy Cathal Crowe pressed the matter with the HEA’s representative, asking if there is an aspiration to offer the programme in 2024 or 2025, as “our current crop of sixth-year students have already engaged with the CAO”.
“Wherever it is decided this course will be located, we need to know what the lead-in period will be.”
“That needs to be spelt out. There are youngsters, who would like to know what is happening,” he told the sitting.
Deputy Crowe continued: “I think highly of vets. We hear repeatedly from farmers at constituency level that there is a lack of vets, particularly at the large animal and pet level. This issue needs to be addressed.”
More Irish students study vet med in Ireland
Meanwhile, in his opening statement, Keith Moynes, assistant secretary with responsibility for higher education in the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, outlined that EOIs were sought from institutions with the capability to expand existing courses or create new courses in the area of veterinary from 2024/2025 or 2025/2026 academic years.
“There are many reasons why students seek to study in institutions outside the state, and international mobility can be a positive experience for learners.”
“However, the department’s understanding is that there is a relatively higher proportion of veterinary students studying internationally relative to other disciplines.”
“Minister Harris is on record as saying that he wants to see more Irish students being able to study veterinary medicine in Ireland.”
“As with any academic discipline which is regulated, involves significant practical and placement work, and requires clinical facilities, there are real, material limits on the number of places that can be delivered without very significant additional investment,” he concluded.