Five third level institutions are in the mix to educate and train more vet students in Ireland, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

Currently the sole provider of veterinary education in Ireland, UCD, has moved to seek government funding for additional student capacity in its course.

Meanwhile, four others, understood to be South East Technological University (Waterford), the Atlantic Technological University, University of Limerick and Munster Technological University, have pitched to set up new veterinary courses.


CEO of the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) Niamh Muldoon has been appointed to a Higher Education Authority (HEA) panel to access where best to add additional capacity for third level veterinary education as well as for human medical fields such as dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy.

The panel will now review the five vet college applications and the HEA will then make a recommendation to government by March 2023.

The new veterinary course, or potentially expanded course in the case of UCD, could be operational as early as September 2024, said Muldoon.

Commenting on her participation in the panel, Muldoon said: “This presents a great opportunity to enable increased capacity and greater access to veterinary medicine education in Ireland.

“There is a national demand for greater capacity in programmes of veterinary medicine with many talented Irish students traveling abroad to study veterinary medicine and I welcome the HEA’s inclusion of veterinary medicine in this process.”


The VCI will also have to assess the viability of and accredit new or expanded veterinary college courses if they were to be established.

“Ireland has very high standards of veterinary education as a result of the veterinary council’s standards in education,” Muldoon said.

‘Positive step’

Senator Tim Lombard said he has been advocating for a second school of veterinary medicine in Ireland for some time.

“Today is a positive step in the process of what will hopefully result in a new school of veterinary medicine and an increase in places available to students wanting to become vets.

“We know the interest is there based on the numbers who apply through CAO every year. The current situation where there are only about 80 places available to study veterinary medicine in UCD every year has resulted in many Irish students going abroad to study.

“At a time when we need more vets here, particularly in rural areas and working in large animal practice, it will be hugely beneficial for all of us working in agriculture to have more capacity and ultimately more vets on the ground,” he said.

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