Northern Ireland’s new chief vet has been confirmed as Brian Dooher, he is also the joint manager of Tyrone GAA’s senior football team. 

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said today (Thursday, March 7) that following its recent external recruitment competition to appoint a new chief veterinary officer Brian Dooher had been selected. 

He is currently deputy chief vet and will take up his new role at the end of this month.

One of the key responsibilities of the senior role is to provide “evidence-based professional advice to DAERA, executive ministers and other parts of government”.

The chief vet position – which currently has an annual salary at senior civil service grade 3 of between £96,722 to £108,118 – heads up DAERA’s Veterinary Service and Animal Health Group (VSAHG).

Dooher, who will lead a multi-disciplinary team of more than 650 staff in Northern Ireland, said today that he was “honoured to have been selected for this role”.

“It will be my privilege to lead my veterinary colleagues to support our farming and food industry.


“I will work constructively and collaboratively with DAERA staff and stakeholders, delivery partners and colleagues in other administrations, in Ireland and in the EU on areas of common interest and to meet the future challenges across animal health and welfare and public health,” he added.

Chief vet

Northern Ireland’s new chief vet is a graduate of University College Dublin (UCD) and has a degree in Veterinary Medicine (MVB).

Following his graduation in 1998 he initially worked in private practice for seven years and then joined DAERA in 2005 .

He had been deputy chief vet for Northern Ireland since 2018.

Despite the pressure of both his demanding roles with DAERA and Tyrone GAA’s senior football team, Dooher has also been recognised as an accomplished pedigree Texel sheep and Simmental cattle breeder.

He takes up his new role against the backdrop of what Northern Ireland’s recently appointed Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Andrew Muir, has described as “immediate environmental and agricultural challenges”.

Minister Muir has acknowledged that there are many challenges as minister that he has to address “not least the devastating impact of bovine TB on our farms and economy”.