Animal welfare inspector moved on ‘credible’ threat

A Limerick-based animal welfare inspector has been dismissed from his post due to credible threats to his personal safety, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

ISPCA said its inspector regularly encountered very difficult and sometimes dangerous working conditions.

According to a report published on RTÉ’s This Week under FAITH, the Agriculture Ministry has been briefed on developments.

ISPCA provided an inspector in Limerick for the five years between 2015 and 2020.

A note attached to a Ministry of Agriculture inspection report stated that ISPCA was re-examining its presence in Limerick due to a lack of funding, and also because the Limerick inspector had received “significant threats to his personal safety on several occasions ”.

The note stated that the inspector had been moved to another location last year.

ISPCA said the Limerick inspector was working under “very difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions that are regularly encountered”.

He said there were “credible threats” to the personal safety of inspectors, and ISPCA owes its employees a duty of care – and the risks to their inspector have become intolerable.

He went on to say that it has proven difficult to exercise powers under the Animal Health and Welfare Act in Limerick and that under certain circumstances it was often difficult to obtain the support from An Garda Siochana when needed.

ISPCA also claimed that animal welfare was “not a priority” for the gardaí.

Garda’s press office refused to respond to this request.

Limerick City Councilor Dan McSweeney, who has raised concerns over the loss of the inspection service in the past, called on ISPCA to sit down with the local authority, An Garda Síochána and the ministry of Agriculture to put in place a solid plan to ensure animal welfare is protected in Limerick.