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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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Gov considers next steps to increase vet med college places

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, have announced a number of options to expand third-level places for veterinary medicine in Ireland.

The Higher Education Authority was tasked by the Department of Further and Higher Education to establish how additional capacity may be provided in veterinary medicine, among other disciplines.

The report has found, with investment, an additional 230 vets could potentially be trained annually.

Breakdown of veterinary medicine places as follows:
HEI  Programme  New or expansion of existing  # annual places at full roll out  # places across all years at full roll out 
UL Veterinary Medicine & Surgery New 90 450
ATU Veterinary Medicine New 40 200
SETU Veterinary Medicine New 40 200
UCD Veterinary Medicine Expansion 45 275
UCD Grad Entry Expansion 5 20
TOTAL 230 1,145
Next step

This increase is subject to a forthcoming process which will now begin to cross-reference available options with the “ongoing demand” in the veterinary and healthcare areas and to agree costs and funding.

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science will now work with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to bring these proposals forward.

Each will be subjected to a process, and investment will be subject to the normal procedures.

However, this could lead to an unprecedented change in the number of graduates in these key skills areas in the coming years and will help the health and agriculture sector begin to address workforce shortage issues, according to Minister Simon Harris.

Minister McConalogue said he “looks forward” to the continued analysis of the options identified, which will inform the number of places to move forward with and the locations selected for any potential new veterinary schools. 

The DAFM  will work with colleagues in the Departments of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Health and Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform with a view to agreeing an approach to be brought to government for decision in the “very near future”.

The government agreed to advance the process with investment to be considered in the context of budgetary processes and the National Development Plan review.

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