Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Health
Food Safety Authority of Ireland
792. To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the financial challenge facing the local authority veterinary service on 30 June 2020 as a consequence of a cut in funding from the FSAI; the reason this cut is happening in view of the importance of the service to food production at this time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6793/20]
793. To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to correspondence issued by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland on 12 May 2020 relating to the operation of checks in small slaughter houses post 1 July 2020; his views on whether this correspondence undermines attempts to secure the future of the local authority veterinary service which currently operates this service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6794/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 792 and 793 together.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is a statutory body established under the Food Safety Authority of Ireland Act, 1998 (as amended by the British-Irish Agreement Act, 1999). Although, the FSAI is funded through my Department, it is independent in the exercise of its functions.
The FSAI’s key function is the enforcement of food legislation which is carried out on behalf of the FSAI by a network of official agencies under service contract, including the Local Authorities.
I am aware that the FSAI has been in discussion with the Local Authorities and the County and City Management Association (CCMA) for some time about the delivery of official food controls by the Local Authority Veterinary Service (LAVS), to ensure that this service is delivered in an efficient and effective manner.
My Department is keen to ensure that the FSAI and the Local Authorities agree on the immediate priority of ensuring that the LAVS continue to fulfil official controls by way of a renewed service contract that will facilitate stability in service, beyond the current one which expires at the end of June 2020. My Department is being kept advised by the FSAI of progress in this regard.