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File photo. A mock customs post set up in 2017 at the border with Northern Ireland
File photo. A mock customs post set up in 2017 at the border with Northern Ireland
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

Government issues estimated €4 million tender to station vets at border posts post-Brexit

This includes the possibility of placing them at potential border posts with Northern Ireland in the future.
Feb 22nd 2019, 8:00 PM 21,193 25

THE DEPARTMENT OF Agriculture has issued a tender this evening for the provision of “border inspection post veterinary” services post-Brexit.

The contract – worth an estimated total of €4 million over three years – is for fully qualified veterinarians to carry out a number of duties related to the import of live animals and animal products into Ireland.

It comes after the government today outlined a series of measures it would take in the event of a no-deal Brexit, with Tánaiste Simon Coveney saying it was “a root and branch trawl of our laws to determine what changes will be needed if the UK becomes a third country overnight”.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, far more stringent checks would be required at the border as UK goods and animals move into Ireland and vice-versa.

Each of the veterinarian contractors will be based at any one of the approved border inspection posts in Ireland – at Dublin Port, Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport.

The tender document notes that it is intended to have an approved border inspection post at Rosslare “in time for the departure of the UK from the European Union”.

Crucially, it also includes the possibility of stationing the vets at border posts with Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit and the return of a hard border.

“It may be that other BIPs (border inspection posts) in other locations may need to be established on foot of the restructuring of business that is inevitable post-Brexit,” the department said.

Through a series of eight-hour and four-hour shifts, qualified veterinarians may be required to operate on a 24-hour basis. It is expected that dozens of vets would be required. 

The lists of duties are extensive. They include:

  • Assuming responsibility for ensuring that sanitary and phytosanitary checks at border posts are carried out on all imports into Ireland of live animals, products of animal origin, germinal products, animal by-products, hay and straw from third countries, in accordance of EU legislation.
  • Performance of documentary, identity or physical checks on consignments of animals or animal products and supervising other staff carrying out such activities, and
  • Performance of checks on pet animals or ensuring other bodies carrying out such checks do so in accordance with EU rules.

Interested candidates are required to submit details of their veterinary qualification, a copy of their registration with the Veterinary Council of Ireland or an equivalent EU body, as well as number of signed documents in order to be considered for the post. 

The UK is by far Ireland’s biggest trading partner, with the agri-food sector at particular risk in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In 2017, agri-food exports to the UK totalled €5.2 billion while imports were €4.1 billion.

Coveney said today that Ireland is facing a potential emergency situation and his “mega Bill” was a priority for the government if a no-deal Brexit occurred.

Late last month, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe warned that a no-deal Brexit would hit Ireland hard and fast, with jobs in the agri-food sector among those most at risk.

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Sean Murray

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