Law to block corporate takeover of veterinary practices

Aim is to ensure only veterinary professionals can own a service

Sligo News File

New measures are set to prevent corporate bodies from purchasing veterinary practices.

Jackie Cahill TD

Jackie Cahill said that corporate ownership of practices can lead to both service decreases and simultaneous cost increases to users.

Moving a Bill to amend provisions of the 2005 Veterinary Practice Act, the TD instanced the case where after a Northern Ireland veterinary practice was acquired by a corporate entity “smaller farmers in Donegal were left without any 24 hour service. We have to make sure that does not happen in this country,” he said.

Stating that an interpretation of the Veterinary Act which once precluded ownership of practices passing to corporate bodies has since been changed, he said this meant corporates can now buy veterinary practices in this country.

“We have a veterinary service in this country of which we can be proud,” he said. “It provides a 24-hour service. This is not just for farmers; it also includes small animal practices.”

The aim of the Bill, he said, “is to ensure that veterinary practitioners are the only ones who can own veterinary practices. Veterinary Ireland is completely in support of this. It feels it is the way to ensure a proper 24-hour service is provided at an economic cost to consumers, whether they are farmers or pet owners in towns or cities,” he added.