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Minister Creed's speech at launch of ISPCA Annual Inspectorate Report, Mansion House, 7 March 2018

It is a pleasure to be here today to launch the ISPCA’s 2017 annual inspectorate report. As the largest animal welfare organisation in the country the ISPCA has always played an important role in protecting animal welfare nationally.  Your organisation has a strong record in rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing animals. Very importantly the ISPCA has been to the forefront in educating and heightening public awareness on how animals should be cared for.  Excellent work is carried out daily in the ISPCA Headquarters in Longford, the Equine Rescue Centre in Mallow and the affiliated centres around the country including your new facility that is coming on stream in Donegal.

I (as Minister) and my Department officials take the issue of animal welfare very seriously.  The commencement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 updated and replaced a large volume of primary legislation in the area of animal health and welfare. The Act allows intervention in a much wider range of cases than previous legislation and provides a mechanism to encourage and educate animal keepers.  Most importantly the Act provides for the appointment of authorised officers and granting of legal powers to NGO employees.  These officers are providing very valuable assistance in the care and protection of animals in this country.  The ISPCA currently have 9 authorised officers under the Act and I am delighted to have an opportunity to meet some of them today.   These inspectors are key players in the enforcement and I would like to thank them for their dedication and Trojan work in protecting animal welfare.  I understand that to date ISPCA have initiated 111 prosecutions under the Act with 21 finalised in 2017.

I am aware of the challenges faced by ISPCA Inspectors in dealing with neglected, welfare compromised and abused animals and the work carried out with the animal owners to find a solution to the serious issues arising.  Your work is deeply appreciated.

In recognition of the important role played by you and the many organisations safeguarding animals throughout the country, I announced in December 2017 the largest ever Department allocation of funding to animal welfare organisations of €2,560,000 to 111 organisations.   I was very pleased to award offer increased funding in 2017 of €375,000 to ISPCA, in addition to the contributions of €373,000 to the 17 affiliate organisations brings the total 2017 allocation to ISPCA and its affiliates to €748,000.  This will help in ensuring that your excellent work continues in the animal welfare sphere.

The ongoing co-operation between my Department, the ISPCA, Customs and An Garda Siochana has contributed significantly in cases where animal welfare is compromised and I would like to acknowledge this collaborative approach and am confident that this will continue to be a feature of dealing with welfare issues into the future.

Incidents of animal cruelty are totally unacceptable and we regularly hear of many cases of abandonment and neglect. That is why the work of the ISPCA is vital and your organisation through your interventions provides a positive outcome for manyabandoned and cruelly treated animals, and your organisation has a wonderful record in these interventions.

And so my last words are for all the ISPCA staff, volunteers, helpers, fundraisers and generous donors. I acknowledge your professionalism, dedication and compassion. So may I conclude by thanking wishing all of the team here every success with this magnificent organisation and hope you go from strength to strength in the years ahead.