One of Ireland’s largest networks of independent veterinary practices has thrown its support behind University of Limerick (UL) in its bid for the country’s new vet school.

XL Vets Ireland has supported the proposal for a new veterinary degree programme at UL by signing a memorandum of understanding with the university.

Representatives from XL Vets and UL discussed collaborating on the development of a mentoring programme to optimise the transition to clinical practice.

The university’s plan for the proposed vet school was also on the agenda.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of XL Vets Mike Curran and chair Seán Coffey met with UL president professor Kerstin Mey, as well as the veterinary school project leads.

Clinical practice

XL Vets also met with the head of UL’s School of Medicine professor Colum Dunne on clinical practice experience at the proposed vet school.

UL is proposing to deliver a hybrid distributed model of veterinary clinical education using its network of veterinary practice partners, regional placement hubs and the development of a contemporary teaching veterinary hospital on the UL campus.

The statement from XL Vets said: “UL is confident that its distributed model for veterinary clinical placements, with students living and working in rural practices, will positively influence graduates towards clinical practice and rural career choices.”


Four universities have been shortlisted to house Ireland’s new vet school by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

They are UL, Atlantic Technological University (ATU), South East Technological University (SETU) and University College Dublin (UCD) in an expanded form.

At the beginning of this year, Minster for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said he still believes there will be additional veterinary medicine course places available at a new veterinary school in 2024.

At the time, he said negotiations on the National Development Plan (NDP), which will determine funding for the project, were yet to begin by the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform.

Minister Harris said he held a meeting with Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue before Christmas and they have agreed to make a joint bid to the NDP process.