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FSAI Board Meeting Minutes 20th February 2023


  • Mr Martin Higgins (MH), Chairman
  • Mr Patrick Knight (PK)
  • Ms Mary Cullen (MC)
  • Prof Martin Cormican (P. MC)
  • Ms. Ann Horan (AH) (via MS Teams)
  • Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan (CFN)
  • Mr Gerard McCurdy (GMcC)
  • Prof Francis Butler (FB)
  • Ms Eilis O’Brien (EOB)
  • Ms Lisa Manselli (LM)

In attendance

  • Dr Pamela Byrne (PB), Chief Executive
  • Mr Kevin Roantree (KR), Board Secretary
  • Mr Louise Kissane (LK)
  • Mr Tommy Wilson (TW)
  • Ms Siobhan McEvoy (SME)

Apologies: None

1. Disclosure of Interests

FB raised a possible conflict of interest with regard to a previous research interest in oyster production. This was noted by the Board.

2. Welcome to new Board Members

The Chair, the Board and the Executive welcomed the new FSAI Board members, Ms Eilis O’Brien and Ms Lisa Manselli.

PB and KR left the meeting.

3. Private Session

After the private session of the Board, PB and KR returned to the meeting. The Chair outlined that the Board had discussed a number of matters and provided the Executive with an overview. The Chair also informed the Executive that the Board had agreed that AH would fulfil the role of Interim Chair from the 21st February until the appointment of a Chair by the Minister of Health.

4. Minutes of the last meeting: 13th December 2022

A number of amendments, to improve clarity, were raised and it was agreed to amend accordingly.

5. Matters Arising

The presentation on the Board’s Effectiveness Review was discussed. The report will be presented at the next meeting of the Board on 28th March. A query was raised as to whether it might be of benefit for the external specialist to conduct interviews with EOB and LM as part of the review process. KR agreed to engage with Navigo on this matter.

Action: KR to contact Navigo to determine if EOB and LM should be interviewed as part of the effectiveness review.

6. CEO Report

It was agreed that the CEO Report should be taken as read and Board members were invited to raise queries or seek clarifications.

The Board raised a number of queries/comments and discussions were had on the following matters:

  • PB provided an update on the recent salmonella outbreak in poultry flocks and the actions being taken to minimise any potential risk to consumers. It was queried as to whether there was a risk of a larger outbreak and the FSAI’s preparations should it occur. PB first noted that in the current outbreak there had been no human cases to date and outlined that the FSAI is prepared, and has a protocol in place, should an escalation of the outbreak occur. However the strengthening of controls on farms and in the processing plants should minimise the risk of a human outbreak of Salmonellosis.
  • PB provided an update on the expected transfer of the LAVS service to DAFM following a recent meeting with DoH. The FSAI has been requested by DoH to prepare for managing the service for a further 3 years as it unlikely that the transfer will occur by year end. PB outlined that, whilst also positively engaging in steps to transfer the service, the key focus for the FSAI would be in ensuring the quality of the LAVS service and that it continued to protect public health and food safety. The Board expressed disappointment in these further delays and requested that the matter be discussed in more detail at the next Board meeting.
  • PB provided an update on a recent legal case in which the FSAI is involved and the actions being taken to address correspondence received in relation to the case.

7. Enforcement Orders

These were noted.

8. Board Updates

8.1 Strategy Development Update

The Board noted the paper proposing an extension of the current strategic plan for an additional 12 months to the end of December 2024. The importance of ensuring that the FSAI’s current strategy is still relevant, and appropriate was emphasised by Board members. PB advised that the internal assessment phase of the new plan has been completed and concluded that it will be a key input in to the development of the new Strategic plan. The Board requested a revised project schedule for the development of the new strategic plan to be submitted to the Board at its next meeting. They also advised that the business plan for 2024 should include stretch targets. The Board approved the recommendation to seek formal sanction from the DoH for the extension of the FSAI’s current strategy to the end of 2024 for the reasons outlined in the paper.

Action: CEO to revert to the Board with a revised strategy development plan.

Action: KR to prepare draft communication to DoH, agree submission with Interim Chair and that KR to send a letter to DoH on behalf of Interim Chair seeking formal sanction to extend the current strategy.

8.2 People/HR Update

The Board discussed the importance of having a mechanism for evaluating the Blended Working pilot and ensuring there is appropriate focus on consumer protection in the delivery of the FSAI’s strategic and business plans. It was agreed that the Board would be updated on the evaluation mechanism at a forthcoming meeting.

The approach to reviewing the Strategic Workforce Plan (SWP) was discussed. The Board had understood that a presentation on the SWP was to be provided to the DoH – PB clarified that, after discussions with the DoH, the report had been submitted to the Department and the FSAI was awaiting a formal response. This would then be considered as part of the plan to agree the appropriate actions to be taken to implement the report’s recommendations. In addition, the Board queried the cost to implement the SWP recommendations and the actions to be taken to ensure the report remains useful and updated. It was noted that the report did not contain the strategic, and operational, insights expected and that consideration should be given to addressing any identified gaps.

Action: An update on the Blended Working evaluation mechanism, including reviewing performance and contribution to be provided to the Board at a future meeting

Action: Board requested that the SWP Plan and the presentation provided to the Board at its December 2022 meeting should be uploaded to the Documents section of the Board App. KR to action.

LK, TW and SME joined the meeting via MS Teams

Senior officials from the DoH joined the meeting to express their gratitude to the FSAI Chair, whose tenure is due to end on the 20th February, and their thanks for his contributions, assistance and positive collaboration over the years. The Chair thanked the DoH for its support, the positive manner of its engagement and its commitment to the aims of the FSAI

LK, TW and SME left the meeting

The Board noted the update on the PCW 1% mechanisms which had been discussed by the Board at a previous meeting. PB and KR clarified the steps outlined in the paper. Board members expressed some dissatisfaction with the outcome of this matter.

8.3 2022 Business Plan Delivery Report

The 2022 Year End Report was noted. The Board sought greater clarity with regard to the deliverables which were only partly delivered in 2022, including their significance with regard to public health, to what extent these deliverables had been delivered and the anticipated schedule for their completion in 2023. PB advised that the FSAI always prioritises public health and that the 2023 Business Plan would highlight those deliverables that were not fully delivered in 2022. Suggestions by Board members included (i) that priority be given to the development of measures and targets in the development of the next strategic plan, (ii) that the additional unforeseen work which was highlighted in the Executive summary might be better placed alongside the associated goals in the business plan delivery report and (iii) that the Executive should consider what a high performing organisation should look like in the context of the FSAI.

Scientific Committee Update

P. MC provided the Board with an update on the work of the SC and clarified the respective roles of the SC and the FSAI Board, as outlined in the FSAI Act.

9. Finance and Corporate Compliance

9.1 Financial Summary Report

The Board noted the report. MC requested a brief call with KR on a couple of queries and it was agreed that this would occur the following week.

Action: MC and KR to discuss finance report

10. Corporate Governance

10.1 Risk Register

The Board noted the Risk Register. It was agreed due to time constraints that the Register would be discussed in greater detail at the March meetings of the ARC and the Board.

11. AOB

The Chair thanked the Board members, and the FSAI Executive, for engaging so positively, constructively and helpfully over his years on the Board, particularly during his years as the Chair. The Board members, and the Executive, thanked the Chair for his guidance, dedication and professionalism. A lunch was held in his honour following the Board meeting.

Next meeting: 28th March 2023

FSAI Board Actions: February 2023   



Date Raised




Review the Risk Policy and Register in light of the Board’s discussions and the RAS exercise

Apr 20/ Jun 21/ Dec 21




Ensure that future PCW assessment processes are merit based

Nov 21




Recruitment and Retirement Process: FSAI Executive to review and revert to the Board on actions taken

Feb 22




Engage with the DoH regarding appointment of Interim Chair

Dec 22




Circulate a proposed Board strategy session framework to Board members

Dec 22




Circulate the SWP presentation to Board members for review and feedback

Dec 22




Adjust Financial Summary Report to reflect Board requests

Dec 22




Executive to review Risk Register in light of Board comments

Dec 22




Email Board members with details for the Effectiveness Review

Dec 22




Contact Navigo to determine if EOB and LM should be interviewed as part of the effectiveness review

Feb 23




Revert to the Board with a strategy development plan

Feb 23




Send communication to the DoH seeking formal sanction to extend the current strategy

Feb 23




MC and KR to discuss Finance report

Feb 23




An update on the Blended Working evaluation mechanism, including reviewing performance and contribution, to be provided to the Board at a future meeting

Feb 23




To Note: Actions raised by the Board will be placed into the Actions table and remain there until completed (or removed by request of the Chair). Once an action is completed it will be marked as such for one meeting prior to being removed.