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Careers in the Inspectorate

Careers in the Inspectorate

What We Do

The work of the Agricultural Inspectorate within the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) is varied. On any given day you will find Agricultural Inspectors:

  • Operating the laboratory service for the milk and milk product and the horticulture and plant health sectors, so that the required standards for food safety, plant health, market supports, and certification are maintained;
  • Formulating policies and measures to prevent the entry and spread of non-indigenous quarantine pests, to control regulated pests and to negotiate the defence of the national plant health status;
  • Promoting the development of an efficient primary horticultural sector;
  • Contributing to the development of policy and strategies to promote environmentally friendly and sustainable systems of agriculture and assisting structural change through schemes such as GLAS;
  • Supporting registration of pesticides (plant protection and biocidal products) for marketing and use in Ireland by evaluating their eligibility for regulatory approval;
  • Implementing EU and national legislation in the zootechnical area to carry out controls of herd books and studbooks and licensing of AI stations;
  • Evaluating crop varieties most suitable for growing under Irish conditions and registering Plant Variety Rights;
  • Contributing to the development of legislation and policy formation on Feeding stuffs, Fertilisers, Grain and Poultry;
  • Implementing effective feed and food safety inspection and control programmes at all stages of the feed chain;
  • Assisting trade and facilitating co-operation and sharing of information while working abroad in the role of Agricultural Attaché.
  • Assisting in the development of CAP legislation in respect of direct payments and its implementation:

    • Lead and coordinate on the process for the development of the next 10-year strategy for the Irish agri-food sector, to replace FoodWise 2025.
    • Contribute to the development of National & EU Research and Innovation policy that best services DAFM/sector needs.
    • Support the procurement and delivery of specialist scientific-based learning and development opportunities and interventions to staff.

  • Inspect forests, nurseries and sawmills.
  • Monitor and report on felling licence activities.
  • Measure and record forest data for National Forest Inventories.
  • Carry out inspections and documentation checks in relation to forest protection, carbon accounting, and research and development.
  • Engage in works associated with the expansion and management of the forest estate e.g. Afforestation Schemes.
  • Evaluate, monitor and verify progress and expenditure on Department funded forest research projects.


There are over 200 DAFM Agricultural Inspectorate personnel working throughout the country.


Serving the Government and people of Ireland by leading, developing and regulating the agri-food sector, protecting public health, and optimising social, economic and environmental benefits.


  • By bringing relevant scientific, technical expert-based evidence and other knowledge to bear on policy evaluation and analysis and on the development and implementation of strategies and programmes;
  • By providing leadership, management and conducting controls in areas which are predominantly scientific/technical in nature, such as livestock, dairying, crops and seeds, plant health, pesticides/biocides, feedstuffs, environment, research, water quality, climate change, nitrates, cross compliance, and also providing expertise in agricultural economics;
  • By representing DAFM on Inter-Departmental Committees and at meetings with other Departments and Agencies in areas which are scientific/technical in nature such as Science, Technology and Innovation, Climate Change and Water Framework Directive.
  • By promoting and negotiating Irelands interests at international scientific fora and with such bodies as the EU (many scientific and technical expert committees), OECD, European Food Safety Authority, Codex Alimentarius, FAO Commission on Genetic Resources the International Plant Protection Convention and the Community Plant Rights Office;
  • By meeting the scientific needs of DAFM. These needs have increased in recent years in areas such as environment, research, biocides, plant health and molecular biology. 
  • By implementing of EU and national forest legislation.


The Agricultural Inspectorate comprise honours science graduates with a range of primary qualifications which include Agriculture Science, Dairy Science, Chemistry, Toxicology, Ecotoxicology, Molecular Biology, Engineering, Food Science, and more.  Almost 50% also have post-graduate Masters Degrees or PhD qualifications.

The grading structure of the Agricultural Inspectorate comprises of a Chief Inspector, a Deputy Chief Inspector, Senior Inspectors, Agricultural Inspectors and Assistant Agricultural Inspectors. The Forest Service is comprised of a Senior Inspector, Forestry Inspector Grade 1, Forestry Inspector Grade 2 and Forestry Inspector Grade 3. Inspectorate grades join the Department at Assistant Agricultural Inspector or Forestry Inspector Grade 3 level and progress their careers through competing in internal competitions. Opportunities for career development within the civil service are also available. DAFM has about 60 Divisions and 13 Heads of Divisions are Senior Inspectors

DAFM Career Opportunities Highlight

 A look at DAFM Career Opportunities - Patrick Barrett