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Careers in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Working with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine can provide you with a rewarding and fulfilling career at the forefront of agri-food, forestry and marine sectors, allowing you to develop your skills and contribute toward national economic development and the sustainable advancement of our environment

Diverse workforce

The Department embraces a diverse workplace that reflects the society in which we operate in terms of race, gender, physical and mental ability, ethnicity, age, class, spiritual practice and sexual orientation. Our culture respects conflicting opinions and promotes the dignity of each member of our workforce. We provide equal opportunities across our workforce encourage different perspectives, promote learning from alternative perspectives and support individual needs and opinions. Each team member must have the opportunity to be heard and feel that their opinions are respected.

There are a diverse range of jobs available within the Department at different levels; Clerical staff carry out routine work and Management grades deal with more difficult casework and are responsible for implementing schemes. Senior managers manage and deliver results, giving leadership and direction to their teams. There are also professionals recruited to a wide range of specialist roles in Agricultural Science, laboratory roles, veterinary, legal, accountancy, etc. Our staff must to be able to work effectively with a diverse range of stakeholders including Ministers, other civil servants, people from the wider public service and the private and voluntary sectors.

Variety of roles

As an employee of the Department, you will have a variety of roles available to you during your career:

  • Policy development on all areas of Departmental responsibility.
  • Representation in international fora especially EU negotiations.
  • Development and implementation of national and EU schemes in support of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Forestry and Rural Environment.
  • Monitoring and controlling aspects of Food Safety.
  • Control and audit of public expenditure.
  • Regulation of the agriculture, fisheries, and food industries through national and EU legislation.
  • Monitoring and controlling animal and plant health and animal welfare.
  • Provision of legal advice and management of legal cases relating to all areas of Department responsibility
  • Design, development and maintenance of IT systems.

The Department has a sophisticated IT infrastructure and the majority of roles are office based using one of our general or bespoke IT systems. The Department has a state of the art laboratory facility at Celbridge and a number of smaller laboratories around the country. Some roles in the Department will include attending meetings with stakeholders and lobby groups or representing Ireland at meetings with the EU institutions; other roles involve inspections at meat plants or incorporate an outdoors element i.e. carrying out farm inspections or checks at Border Inspection Posts.

Diverse Locations

The Department has a large number of locations nationwide involving a variety of different roles. The Department also has a presence in a number of key locations across the globe in association with the embassy network attached to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Opportunities regularly arise for secondment to other Gov Departments and Agencies and to the EU Institutions. 

Salary & Pension

Civil servants employed by the Department enjoy a tiered salary scale where annual increments are payable subject to compliance with sick leave and performance management provisions. 

All officers over 16 years who join the Civil Service in an Established capacity on or after 6 April 1995 are automatically included in the contributory Established Superannuation Scheme provided that they have the potential to give at least two years service on becoming Established Civil Servants.

Sick leave scheme

The Department’s sick pay scheme provides for the payment of the following to staff during periods of absence from work due to illness or injury:

  • A maximum of 92 days on full pay in a rolling one year period
  • Followed by a maximum of 91 days on half pay in a rolling one year period
  • Subject to a maximum of 183 days paid sick leave in a rolling four year period

Flexible working arrangements

Flexible working hours

Normal daily attendance period is 09.00 to 17.45 Monday to Thursday (17.15 on Friday). Most staff will work forty three and a quarter hours gross per week, i.e. inclusive of lunch breaks. For administration grades we operate a system of Flexible Working Hours (FWH). Under this system, you must work your full quota of hours, but you have more flexibility in doing so. For example, you can, subject to the business needs in your area, vary your arrival times, departure times, and lunch breaks. Hours that are open to variation in this way are known as ‘Flexible Hours’. The main part of the day, when all staff should be at their jobs, is not open to variation and is known as ‘Core Time’. You have the ability to accumulate up to 1.5 days over a 4 week period and avail of this as time off in the next 4 week period .

Shorter working year

The purpose of the swy scheme is to permit you to balance working arrangements with outside commitments including the school holiday periods of your children.  Under the terms of the scheme, special leave without pay is available as a period of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 13 consecutive weeks. The leave can be taken as one continuous period or as a maximum of 3 separate periods each consisting of not less than 2 weeks and not exceeding 13 weeks in total. The grant of leave under this scheme is subject to the business demands in your area.

Parental leave

An officer who is the parent of a child is statutorily entitled to unpaid parental leave for a period of eighteen working weeks. The purpose of this leave is to enable a parent to take care of his or her child. Four weeks are non-transferable between qualifying parents where both parents are employed in the Civil Service.

Extended maternity leave

Maternity leave consists of twenty six weeks paid leave with an option to avail of sixteen weeks unpaid additional maternity leave. Pregnant staff are entitled to such paid time off from duty as is necessary for attendance at ante-natal and post-natal clinics

Career Path

The public sector operates an open and transparent system of competitive processes for recruitment and promotion. They hold open competitions for the general public and InterDepartmental competitions that are open to existing civil servants. The Department also holds internal competitions open to employees. These panels usually last for 2 years and successful candidates are appointed sequentially from these panels as vacancies in the Department arise.   

Career paths will differ for individual staff depending on your grade stream, experience, self development, location, etc. Staff will tend to pursue different routes, depending on their own strengths and interests.

Learning & Development

The Department is committed to the ongoing training, up-skilling and development of our staff to ensure that we have the appropriate skills set at all times and supports officers’ efforts in the area of self-development and life-long learning. This commitment is part of our long term policy of supporting the development of our staff thereby enhancing the overall level of core workplace skills and in turn the overall performance of the Department.

The Department will support, through its refund of fees scheme, formal learning that will lead to a second or third level educational or professional qualification that is relevant to your role and the business needs of the Department. These courses are undertaken in the officers own time, however the Department will support participants through the provision of paid study and exam leave.


The Department implements a formal mentoring programme and is exploring formal coaching programmes. 

Performance Management and Development System

The Department implements performance management and development to contribute to continuous improvement in performance by aligning individual and team performance with the goals of the Department, through greater clarity in setting objectives and related performance targets for individuals and teams and monitoring progress in achievement. It also provides a context in which the development needs of job holders can be addressed. It allows us to manage our resources within a strategic framework and achieve more effective performance.

Career Breaks

The Department supports career development and flexible working arrangements through the provision of Career Breaks as follows:

  • Family reasons, Other domestic reasons, Travel and Educational purposes (educational purposes may include training courses with a practical training element for which there is a nominal payment/grant made to the student – duration of not less than six months and not more than five years;
  • for the purpose of taking up employment in the private sector or becoming self-employed – duration of not less than six months and not more than three years.

Employee Schemes

The Department provides access to a range of employee schemes including ‘cycle to work’, Travel Pass, etc.  Employees may also access An post savings schemes, private pension schemes, private health insurance schemes, income continuance schemes, etc. through the Department’s payroll system.   

Interested in joining our team?

Recruitment for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is carried out primarily by the Public Appointments Service through their websites and

You can contact the Department directly by phone on 01 6072660, by email on or by writing to:

Careers c/o Human Resources Division, Agriculture House, Kildare St., Dublin 2 DO2 WK12