The location of the new veterinary school deserves and should be in the west of Ireland, Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh said in Brussels this week.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, she said that the Atlantic Technological University in Letterkenny with its associated agricultural college in Mountbellew is "primed" for the new vet school.

"I think it's an absolute loss in this part of the country. Vets are burning out and they're being cried out for in our neck of the woods in Mayo [and] Galway.

"We talk about mental health and when we look at veterinary, they're not doing so well," she said.

She added that it was "shocking" to see more students studying veterinary abroad than at home in Ireland.


A decision on the location is nearing. However, it is still very unclear where it will be yet.

During initial talks of where the school should be located, the University of Limerick was tipped to become the site of the new vet school.

Proposals for the new veterinary school will go to cabinet this month, a spokesperson for Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris told the Irish Farmers Journal.

The minister told the Dáil this week that the report from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has given Government options to significantly increase the number of people training in the health service and veterinary medicine.

In relation to veterinary, Minister Harris said: “The Higher Education Authority recently ran a process to identify where capacity could be built in the higher education sector in a number of priority disciplines including veterinary medicine.


“A number of institutions put forward proposals, including for the expansion of the existing veterinary medicine programme, but also for the development of entirely new programmes in a number of areas across the country.

“The HEA has advised that a number of proposals for additional veterinary places are worthy of further consideration and examination.

“As I intend updating Government on this process shortly, I cannot confirm the exact numbers or locations.

"However, I can confirm following Government consideration, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and I will outline how we intend to move forward with the opportunities, identified by the HEA, for new programme provision alongside options for current programme expansion.”