Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
306. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the savings to date in 2009 yielded from the 8% reduction in professional fees introduced in February 2009; the savings he expects to be made as a result of this 8% reduction in 2009 as a whole; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42640/09]
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The decision to apply the 8% reduction in professional fees resulted in an adjustment of €3.42m on my Department’s 2009 Revised Estimate. This adjustment related to professional fees payable to private veterinary practitioners engaged periodically by the Department on food safety inspections and animal health testing work. The reduction in fees for veterinary practitioners is provided for in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Reduction in Payments to Veterinary Practitioners) Regulations 2009, (S.I. No. 216 of 2009).
Apart from the reduction in veterinary practitioner fees payable, the actual level of expenditure on such fees is dependent on the level of operational activities requiring the engagement of veterinary practitioners e.g. the number of animals sent for slaughter at meat plants, the level of disease testing in farm animals. In addition, my Department has applied the 8% reduction to professional fees across a number of other activities such as IT, financial and other professional service areas. The latest information available indicates that the saving in these areas will be in the region of €2.5 million for 2009 as a whole.
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