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Speech by Minister Michael Creed DSPCA Visit 30 January 2018.

Distinguished guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be here today in DSPCA Headquarters to officially open your new education room.  The DSPCA was founded in 1840 and has always played an important role in protecting animal welfare in Dublin city and county. Your organisation has a strong record in rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing animals. Very importantly your organisation has been to the forefront in educating and heightening public awareness on how animals should be cared for.

The opening of this facility today demonstrates DSPCA’s continued commitment in educating the public and will enable you to widen the scope of your educational services.  The room has a capacity for 60 children and is fitted with modern assisted learning aids.  I understand this year you expect to engage with  over 15,000 school children through school visits, summer camps etc, in addition to providing a work placement programme for 500 second level students and providing practical experience to students studying veterinary medicine. 

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.

The Act also provides for the appointment of authorised offers. There are currently three DSPCA authorised officers under the Act: Liam, Tony and Bartley [and I was delighted to meet them earlier today].  These inspectors are key players in the enforcement of the Act to date. Arrangements are working well and there is capacity for further appointments in the future as appropriate.

I understand, your authorised officers have to date forwarded a number of cases to the courts for prosecution and other cases are being progressed.

The ongoing co-operation between my Department, the DSPCA, 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 DSPCA is vital and your organisation through your interventions provides a positive outcome for many, many abandoned and cruelly treated animals. I believe that in 2017 you re-homed in the region of 2,500 animals.  This is a wonderful record.    

As I mentioned earlier, my Department places great emphasis on the issue of animal welfare and in December last I announced the largest ever Department allocation of funding to animal welfare organisations of €2,560,000. I was very pleased to award €375,000 to the DSPCA and I am sure you will make great use of the funding which will enable you expand your services. This funding is recognition of the important role played by you and the many organisations throughout the country in safeguarding animals particularly pet and companion animals. 

I further acknowledge the service you provide through your Mobile Veterinary Clinic which continues to provide a much needed subsidised veterinary service in various areas of the city.

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

Thank you.