The green light for a new veterinary school is coming fast according to An Taoiseach Simon Harris, who was speaking on a Co Kildare tillage farm on Thursday 16 May.

A decision on where the new vet school will be located is expected in the next "few weeks", the Taoiseach confirmed on Philip Harris’s farm in Clane as part of the launch of Fine Gael's new agricultural forum.

There are three proposals which have been put forward from colleges that are both "viable and doable", Harris said.

The shortlisted colleges include South East Technological University (SETU), University of Limerick (UL) and Atlantic Technological University (ATU).

2024 places

While the provision of a new course in a new college may not happen until at least 2025, the Taoiseach said he is still hopeful that additional places may be made available this September.

UCD is currently Ireland's only third level institution offering veterinary to students in Ireland.

"We [Government] do want to see additional capacity this September and I do think there's a number of ways of doing that.

"We obviously have places for international students that can potentially be converted - we've done that in medicine in the past. What that can sometimes provide is a release valve in terms of additional capacity while you go ahead with additional schools.

"But the moment now to give the green light to the additional school is really coming at us fast. There have been very good proposals put forward by a number of universities," he said.