The Department of Agriculture in its first incarnation

In 1965 it became the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. It became the Department of Agriculture again in 1977 until 1987.  In 1987 it became the Department of Agriculture and Food.  In 1993,  became the Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry.  It became the Department of Agriculture and Food again until 1997 until 1999.

It was the Department of Agriculture Food and Rural Development from 1999 until  2002 when it became the Department of Agriculture and Food for the third time.  It became the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food in 2007.

The Department  was incorporated as the Department of Lands and Agriculture in 1924 until 1928.  The Land Commission was transferred to the Department of Fisheries to form the Department of Lands and Fisheries in 1928.



The Poultry Eggs trade group is responsible for policy on breeding poultry and hatching eggs.

The Meat Hygiene and Animal By-Products Division is responsible for policy on meat hygiene issues. It licences  the major slaughter cutting and processing plants and implements relevant legislation to ensure food safety. The plants are approved on the basis of inspections and  reports from the veterinary service of the Department.  Veterinary health certs are issued to facilitate the marketing of meats and meat products in the EU.


The Animals By-Products section is responsible for policy and ensuring administration of animal by-products legislation.  It approves and licenses ABP premises and operators and ensures inspection through veterinary inspection.  The categorisation, collection, transport, process and storage and disposal  in an ABP is regulated through inspections of various plants, stores, facilities and haulier.


The Milk Policy Division regulates and develops the dairy industry.  It ensures compliance with the requirements in relation to hygienic production of milk and milk-based products.  It maintains a register of approved milk processing establishments S.I.  910 of 2005 implementing EU Directive.  It registers processing establishments and inspects to ensure conformity with EU standards. It liaises with the National Milk Agency.


Dairy premises inspections are made under Milk (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1979. A levy covers the cost of Departmental inspections.   It deals with complaints from the public about  milk and milk-based products.  It notifies the Health Safety Authority of Ireland or Environmental Health Officer where required.  It administers the pension payments of employees of the former Dublin and Cork District Milk Boards and the former Diary Disposal Company.  It works closely with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.


The Trade and Market Policy Section is responsible for EU and trade issues relating to the Diary Sector.  It seeks to foster the development of a competitive market orientated sector.  It certifies public health and veterinary certification for exports to third countries in conjunction with Diary Produce Inspectors. It processes Public Health and Veterinary Export Certificates.


The Milk Management Committee manages milk and milk products. Its meetings include representatives of the EU Commission.  It is involved in ongoing research on the dairy industry, policy related matters and CAP reform.  The Milk Quota section was the authority in Ireland for implementation of the milk quota and sugar levy regimes.  It deals with policy areas around these regimes and certain other restructuring schemes, temporary leasing schemes, Milk Quota Appeals Tribunal, Hardship and restricted herds, additional quota allocation scheme milk production partnerships.


It establishes and collects super levy penalty payments, controls and verifies issues in relation to butter fat content. It deals with the surrender of quotas from the reserve as well as issues regarding transfers of quota, eligibility exemption and  surrender of dormant  quotas.


The Food Division has overall responsibility for the formulation of policy for the development of a competitive consumer-based food industry.  It supports the promotion of Irish food and drink, and the implementation of the food related actions in AgriVision 2015 and the achievements of the recommendation made in the strategy for science, technology and innovation relating to food research.


It monitors and controls grant assistance schemes in relation to capital investment under the National Development Plan and grants to research institutions for food research and development.  The Division operates and controls the food quality of regional foodstuff regulations as they apply to Ireland.  It supports Bord Bia in discharge of its functions through payment in grant and aid and support for its promotion activity


The Crops Policy Division promotes national interest in relation to the EU market, management policy for crops such as cereals, sugars, bananas, olive oil, hops tobacco and implements public policy in relation to Teagasc and its subsidiaries,  Moorepark Technology Ltd, and Irish National Stud.


The State Bodies Division has responsibility for public policy in relation to Teagasc, Moorepark Technology Ltd.  its subsidiaries.  It monitors compliance with the Agriculture (Research, Training and Advice) Act, 1988 and advises the Minister on decisions and matters under that legislation. This section administers research to support collaborative institutional research projects.


The Crops Policy Cereal Section is responsible for policy in relation to cereals, rice and olive oil.  It consults with the appropriate management committee at EU level in relation to issues in relation to cereals.


The Crops Policy Sugar Section is responsible for the Sugar and Tobacco Sectors and the implementation of the EU Sugar Restructuring Scheme.  It services the EU Management Committee for Sugar and Tobacco.  The Crops Policy, Biofuel’s Policy Unit coordinates bio-energy initiatives.  It operates the Bioenergy Scheme and encourages farmers to plant bioenergy products.  It provides establishment grants of up to 50% of the costs of establishing certain biomass products.


The Food Safety Division has two sections.  It coordinates the Department’s role in food safety and hygiene.  It acts under  contracts with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland under 1998 Act.


The Unit coordinates the Department’s input to food safety issues at EU and national level.  It liaises with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, The Food Safety Promotions Board and North-South bodies on food safety issues.  It has overall responsibility for  the preparation of reports on food safety service contracts. It promotes the Department of Agriculture’s role in food safety to public. It maintains contacts with Safefood, the Food Safety Promotions Board, the Department of Health and the Department of Communications Marine and Natural Resources.


The Animals Products Import Section administers controls on  imports of animals products from  third countries.  It works with Veterinary Inspectors in the trade, EU and other divisions.  It seeks to protect public and animal health in the import of products .The Unit coordinates the progress in the work to ensure The Food Hygiene package regulations framework is in place.


The Animals Byproducts Import Section coordinates commercial imports and controls on animal products coming to Ireland, commercially or with travellers.  It liaises with customs authorities.  It is involved in the operational aspect of EU Border Inspection Post for animal products in Ireland.  It implements the EU legislation on third country imports of animal products.  It registers importers of animal products.  It licenses third-party imports for non-harmonised animals products, re-imports and samples. It  provides information to the public.


The North-South Coordination  section coordinates cooperation between the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture.  It liaises with the joint Secretariat of the North-South Ministerial Council.  It is involved in the development all island animal health strategy and all island plant health and research strategy.


The Corporate Affairs Division is responsible for the management, development and coordination of the internal and external communications and customer service commitments of the Department.  It comprises the following: a press office and public information service, a coordination section, a communications development section (dealing with the website), an Irish language unit and customer  quality / service section.


The Corporate Section is divided into a number of divisions and areas.  The Finance Division is responsible for monitoring and control of expenditure under the national vote d and the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and European Agricultural Rural Development Fund.  It provides liaison with the European Commission and the Court of Auditors on audit matters.  It represents the Department of Agriculture on EU Financial Committees dealing with the above funds.


It acts in partnership with the Department’s Internal Audit Unit and divisions on EU accreditation issues.  It is comprised of the following subunits: a Financial Management and Analysis Unit, Accounting Support/Management Information Unit, Transaction Reporting Unit, Risk Management and EU Unit.


The Accounts Division is divided into seven sections dealing with the departmental vote.

  • making EAFRD payments for the EU and payments out of the account of the Land Commission.
  • accounting for cash and lodgements to the Department, assisting, monthly balancing and reporting of income.
  • preparing annual appropriation accounts and Land Commission accounts.
  • assembling and coordinating replies to the Comptroller and Auditor General,
  • payment of salaries, expenses, pension payments under the farm early retirement scheme,
  • support and control of the use of the Department’s corporate customer system,
  • issuing of annual statement of payments to farmers,
  • invoicing of regular invoices and statements to customers.


Internal Audit gives assurance to the Audit Committee and senior management in relation to internal accounting control.  It undertakes certain statutory scrutiny on behalf of the European Union in relation to EU funds.


The Management Services Division provides analysis and advice on organisation, development, resource deployment and business process improvement.  It is responsible for the organisation of Heads of Divisions and staff seminars.


The Personnel Division deals with issues relating to recruitment, training, deployment, grievance, retirement, promotion under Department of Finance Guidelines and Employment legislation.  It deals with the salaries of the chief executives of certain state-sponsored bodies under the aegis of the Department.


The Services Health and Safety Section deals with issues of accommodation, building maintenance and a supply of non-IT equipment.


The Safety and Health Policy Section coordinate safety statements, safety management training, and testing programs for certain staffs in relation to dealing with animals diseases.


The Legal Services Division provides legal services to the Department and manages the remaining functions of the Land Commission


The Information Systems Division deals with IT assistance and equipment.


The Livestock Breeding sections support livestock breed improvement, animal health control and development of international agri-foods sector,


The pesticides, agricultural  seeds and plant breeders rights section seeks to achieve the highest standards in plant health through

control, inspections and monitoring, improved plant quality by testing varieties

finding varieties best suited to Irish conditions,

operate the Seed Certification Scheme,

operate the national system of plant breeders rights.


It works closely with the Pesticides Control Section, Seed Testing Laboratory and  the National Crop Variety Testing Centre.


The Plant Trade and Potato section operates the statutory scheme and administers measures in relation to plant movement, cereal seed test certification, potatoes and noxious weeds.  It administers controls of fertilisers and operates national and EU regulation on agriculture type  approval of certain machinery and equipment.


The Animal Feeding Stuff Section deals with regulatory matters concerning animal feed.  This includes licensing of manufacturers of animal feeding stuff, compilation of statistics and implementation of regulations.


The ERAD/Veterinary Medicines Division is responsible for two key animal health programs, The National Bovine TB Eradication Program and The National Bovine Brucellosis Eradication Scheme.


The Veterinary Medicine Section operates a licensing regime for the commercial operators who sell animal remedies.  It regulates the sale and  import of animal remedies.  The HPRA (formerly the  Irish Medicines Board) is responsible for the general licensing of animal remedies in Ireland. The section administers the rescue plan on foot of Council Directive.


The Veterinary Medicines Section advises the Minister and senior management on national policy in relation to animal remedies.  It administers legislation in relation animal remedies other than those vested in the HPRA formerly the IMB.


The meat and bonemeal / poultry offal control section develops and implements the EU and national policy on animal health in relation to the control and use of mammalian meat and bone meal in the context of BSE prevention and e eradication and control of the use of poultry offal.  This includes licensing of MBM’s, licensing their use and use of poultry offal and  enforcement of regulations.


The general class B Diseases Animal Health Section administers national and EU legislation on general health and animal disease issues under class B diseases of the Diseases of Animal Act.  This excludes bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis for which the ERAD Division is responsible.  The local office  manages the administrative functions of the department’s local office network.


The Animal Welfare marts, swill control section administers national and EU legislation on animal welfare, licensing of movement and disposal of swill from vessels and offshore installations and licensing of livestock mark.  It develops and formulates policy in those areas.


The Importation of Products of Animal Origin Section develop and implement national and EU policy in this area.  It implements disease measures under the Diseases of Animals Act and the Animal Health Act as well as EU regulation.   It issues import licenses in respect of various articles and export certificates for certain items.


The National Beef Assurance Division develops and implements various schemes.  It works in association with other divisions to establish standards applied in cattle and beef industry and ensure the effective Bovine Animal Tracing Scheme.


The Laboratory Services Administrative Division is responsible for building, maintenance, and procurement of laboratory equipment at the Department’s laboratory’s at Backweston in conjunction with OPW and the State Laboratory.



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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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