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FSAI Board Meeting Minutes 21st May 2024


  • Ms Ann Horan (AH) (Chair)  
  • Mr Patrick Knight (PK) 
  • Prof Martin Cormican (P. MC) 
  • Ms Lisa Manselli (LM) 
  • Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan (CFN)  
  • Mr Gerard McCurdy (GMcC) 
  • Prof Francis Butler (FB) 

In attendance

  • Dr Pamela Byrne (PB), Chief Executive 
  • Mr Kevin Roantree (KR), Board Secretary 
  • Ms Michelle Minihan, (MM) Director of Audit, Incidents, and Investigations
  • Mr Joe McQuaid, Finance Manager (items, 8.1,8.2,8.7,8.10)
  • Ms Fiona Dwyer (FD), PA to Director of Corporate Affairs 


  • Ms Mary Cullen (MC)  
  • Ms Eilis O’Brien (EOB) 

The Chair welcomed attendees to the meeting and reminded the Board of the good intentions and agreed behaviours for meetings, set out during the workshop with Frank Munnelly. She advised the Board members of the letter received from the Minister for Health reappointing Prof Francis Butler for a further term of 3 years to May 2027 and Mr. Patrick Knight for a further term of 5 years to June 2029.  She thanked both Board members for agreeing to serve a second term. 

The Chair pointed out that as previously agreed, Kevin Roantree, Director of Corporate Affairs will continue the series of presentations from Directors to the Board on the work, challenges, and opportunities within their functional areas.

The Chair noted apologies from Ms Mary Cullen and Ms Eilis O’Brien and noted that Prof Martin Cormican will join the meeting remotely.

The Chair gave an overview of the agenda and advised that two FSAI staff members will join today’s meeting, as follows:
(i)    Joe McQuaid for the finance and governance agenda items 7.1
(ii)    Michelle Minihan, Director of Audit, Incidents, and Investigations, under her additional role as FSAI Climate and Sustainability Champion will present to the Board on the climate, environment and sustainability programme for the FSAI under agenda item 6.4

1. Disclosure of Interests

There were no disclosures made by Board members. 

2. Minutes of the last meeting: 26th March 2024

The Board approved the minutes of 26th March 2024 as tabled subject to the inclusion of minor additional corrections received from P.MC. 

3. Matters Arising

KR provided an update on open actions from the minutes of the 26th March 2024.

Actions update: 

1.    Action closed: Board presentation on FSAI approach to environmental, climate and sustainability matters is on the agenda for today’s meeting. 
2.    Action closed: A report to the Board on the evaluation of blended working is included in the CEO Report tabled at today’s meeting. 
3.    Action open. Vanessa Cooling is scheduled to present to the Board regarding the Albania Project at the September Board meeting.  
4.    Action closed. The Chair wrote to Prof Gibney’s wife, Jo, on behalf of the Board.
5.    Action closed: The Communications team will provide email updates on press releases and areas of interest to the Board.
6.    Action closed.  A new draft of the strategy was produced for review by the Board. 
7.    Action closed. The agenda was agreed, and the strategy development workshop was held on the morning of 21st May 2024.
8.    Action closed. The Innovation Declaration was circulated to the Board.
9.    Action closed.  The draft Code of Conduct for the Board was posted for comment and is tabled for decision at today’s meeting. 
10.    Action closed. The schedule of matters reserved for the Board was added to the Board workplan for review annually. 
11.    Action closed. JMcQ amended the financial statements to reflect the correct number of meetings held by the PRC in 2023.
12.    Action open: This action will remain open, and the CEO will request a meeting with the Chair and DoH. 
13.    Action closed. This item was discussed at the strategy development workshop on the morning of 21st May. 
14.    Action open:  KR and FD will review the induction process in June 2024. 
15.    Action closed. The Chair wrote letters of thanks to the three candidates for the position of FSCC Chair. 
16.    Action closed and additional action added. The CEO will provide a presentation to the Board on Agri-Food Policy at their December meeting. This has been added to the Bord workplan. FD to contact the IPA to arrange a speaker for a Board presentation on AI.
17.     Action closed. FD notified the Board on the launch of the portal and availability of eLearning training modules on The Role of FSAI & Official Controls & Food Safety Culture Module on the FSAI website.
18.    Action open. Scientific Committee declarations were provided to the Chair for review. Under the FSAI Act the Chair should also review the declarations of subcommittees and staff of the FSAI and present to the Board for review.  This paper will be available for the June meeting.  
19.    Action closed. The next PRC meeting will take place on 30th May 2024.

4. CEO Report 

The Chair advised the Board that she attended the launch of the Food Safety Learning Portal and congratulated Ruth Conefrey, Training Manager on this eLearning tool, which will be of great benefit to staff, inspectors and food business alike.  She also extended her compliments to Emma Reinhardt and the communications team on a very successful and well attended event.  

The Chair thanked the CEO for her report and advised that the document would be taken as read.  The CEO responded to the comments and questions received on the following aspects of her report:

Food and Drink Ireland

Before addressing the questions received, the CEO updated the Board on a meeting with Food and Drink Ireland on the publication of their policy priorities for the food and drink sector in 2024. She advised that within their publication they have now made food safety a policy priority for 2024.

Food Safety and Sustainability 

In response to a query on food safety and sustainability the CEO informed the board that recent inputs by FSAI to the Food Vision 2030 effort have highlighted the legitimacy of a broader FSAI involvement outside of food reformulation, and for the reporting effort to ensure improved representation of FSAI efforts contributing to this national vision. The FSAI inputs have been well received, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine incorporated additional wording provided by the FSAI into the annual report on Food Vision 2030.   

Local Authority Veterinary Service (LAVS)

The CEO provided an update on the latest meeting of the working group on the transfer of LAVS to the DAFM, which was held on 14 May.  The meeting was chaired by DoH and attended by FSAI, DAFM, LGMA, and CCMA. The CEO noted that a memorandum for Government has been agreed by DAFM and DoH, this will be followed by a transitional plan for the service. All parties are working towards implementing the transfer by Q4 this year. 

Critical Entities Resilience Directive (CERD)

The CEO updated the Board on the CERD legislation and FSAI’s role in enforcing it.  The Board discussed the possible need for additional resources to support this legislation and agreed that such resources will need to be sanctioned by DoH and in place before any additional work is undertaken. 

Periodic Critical Review

The CEO advised that the DoH have notified her that the contract for the Periodic Critical Review (PCR) of the FSAI has been awarded. She expects to receive a copy of the term of reference for the review tomorrow. 

Action: The CEO will provide the Board with a copy of the terms of reference of the PCR when received. 

FSAI & Safefood Memorandum of Understanding 

The CEO informed the Board that following the appointment of Gary Kearney as the new CEO of Safefood, both agencies will look to revise their MOU, set out areas of mutual intent and report annually on areas of work undertaken together. 

Action: The CEO will provide a presentation on FSAI’s collaboration with Safefood at December Board meeting. 

5. Enforcement Orders 

The schedule of recent Enforcement Orders was noted by Board members.    It was noted that a considerable amount of closure orders continues to be issued in the ethic food category.  The Board recommend that the FSAI continue to work to assist with training and compliance in this area. 

6. Business Planning and Reporting 

6.1 Strategy Development Update 

The Chair noted that comments received from Eilis O’Brien were shared and included in the latest draft of the strategy. 

The Chair expressed her satisfaction with the progress made on the strategy to date and noted that the project management approach used for its development has been very successful.  Following on from the dedicated half day workshop of the Board and SLT earlier in the day, she thanked the Board and SLT members for their contributions.  She expressed satisfaction that the Board are on course to fulfil their role and adopt a strong Statement of Strategy.  The latest draft of the Statement of Strategy is due to be presented to the Board at the June meeting and it is intended that this draft will be approved for submission to the Department of Health.  Once the Statement receives approval from the Department of Health, the Board will turn its focus to the development of the implementation plan. 

Action: The final draft of the Strategy will be circulated to the Board no later than Friday 14th June for agreement by the Board and circulation to the DoH for approval.  

6.2  The Board held a 10-minute break. 

6.3 Presentation; Work of Corporate Affairs by Kevin Roantree

Kevin Roantree, Director of Corporate Affairs provided a presentation on the work of Corporate Affairs and the challenges and opportunities ahead. The Chair thanked KR for his presentation and noted the considerable successes and progress made during the period of the existing strategy.

MM joined the meeting. 

6.4  Presentation; FSAI paper on Environment, Climate and Sustainability 

The Chair welcomed MM to the meeting.  MM provided a presentation to the Board on the planned work of FSAI in relation to Environment, Climate and Sustainability. 

The Board expressed their support for the proposed plan.  MM will revert to the Board with progress made a future Board meeting.  The Board requested that the planed actions contain timelines for implementation.  The Chair thanked MM for her presentation.  

MM and GMcC left the meeting. 

6.5    Q1 Business Plan Progress Report 

The Board reviewed the Q1 Progress report which indicated that 51 of the 54 deliverables are green and on track. None are marked red, and KR provided the Board with an update on the 3 amber objectives.

6.6 Board Workplan 

The Boad reviewed the status of the workplan.

JMcQ joined the meeting.

7. Governance Matters 

7.1 Finance and Governance 

KR provided an overview of the financial report. He highlighted that a significant effort has been undertaken by the FSAI to resolve the 7 non-compliant procurement contracts.  He advised that 4 of the contracts have been successfully re-procured, with new contracts in place. One tender is currently in the standstill period, with a preferred bidder identified and once this period has elapsed a new contract will be put in place. One tender will close on Friday 10 May, and the tenders will then be evaluated. The final procurement exercise is being finalised and will be published shortly. The FSAI remains committed to resolving the non-compliant contracts by the end of June 2024, as previously agreed. KR informed the Board that as these contracts were still non-compliant in 2023, in the interest of transparency these were highlighted to the C&AG during their audit. 

KR advised that in order to support the organisation in its on-going procurement work a new specialist procurement service has been procured.

JMcQ informed the Board that a re-certification audit for ISO 9001 accreditation will occur over three days in June 2024. The Board will be informed of the outcome following the audit. 

Internal Audit Actions

JMcQ informed the Board that the SLT reviewed the internal audit open actions report, along with all audit findings and opportunities for improvements, identified through the Business Management System. The SLT have taken the following actions: 

  • Communicated the operational priority to the Management Team in relation to setting and achieving target completion dates. 
  • Director’s review, and approve, target completion dates for each recommendation.
  • Review the current internal audit plan for appropriateness, alignment to priorities – any proposed changes will be posted for the ARC meeting in early June. 

The Board sought clarity on the underspend in LAVS funding.  JMcQ advised the Board that there are a number of outstanding claims yet to be received from local authorities and FSAI is actively chasing these claims to process payment. 

The Board discussed the funding implications of the 5 anticipated retirements of staff in 2024 and it was clarified regarding the steps being taken to address this. The Chair thanked JMcQ for an informative and comprehensive report.

JMcQ left the meeting.

7.2 Revised Code of Conduct for the Board of the FSAI 

The Board agreed to recirculate the document for final comment and approval at the June Board meeting. 

P. MC left the meeting and asked FD to read out an update he provided. 

7.3 Scientific Committee Update 

FD, on behalf of P. MC, informed the Board that the scientific committee has agreed in principle, advice on the application of new technologies for food testing for regulatory purposes. Some updates need to be incorporated and the document will then go to members for electronic sign off.  The intention is that this should be finalised in mid-July. The advice is a technical document to support the executive and P.MC will bring it to Board in due course. P.MC advised the Board that he has suspended correspondence related to the Scientific Committee to one member who has not responded to email for some time and has not completed the required declaration of interest form.   

The Board expressed their support for the decision made by P.MC to suspend correspondence with the aforementioned committee member. 

7.4  Audit and Risk Committee Update

The Chair informed the Board that in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies she has conducted an appraisal meeting with the Chair of the ARC. 

The Chair advised the Board that Mary Cullen’s term on the Board comes to an end on 14th June 2024.  The next ARC meeting will be held on the 6th June 2024 and Mary will be in attendance at this meeting.  The Chair has invited Mary to join the Board for lunch following their meeting on 17th June as an opportunity to give thanks for her many years of service to the Board and ARC of the FSAI.   The Chair expressed her hope that we will have the 2 new Board members appointed via the public appointments service before the September Board meeting, at which she will seek to agree a replacement for Mary on the ARC.  

7.5 Performance Remunerations Committee Update 

The next meeting of the PRC will be held on 30th May after which PRC will meet with recruitment agencies and select a company to assist with the recruitment of the next CEO. 

8. AOB 

No items discussed.

9 Private session. 

The Board agreed that a private session was not necessary.

The meeting concluded at 4.45pm

Date of next meeting: 17th June 2024

FSAI Board Actions: May 2024

# Action Date Raised Owner Status TCD Month/ year


Vanessa Cooling to join a meeting of the Board in 2024 when the lessons learning report has been finalised regarding the Albania Project.

Dec 23 



Sept 2024


The Chair and CEO will request a meeting with DoH to discuss the OA/PDA the new strategy and holding regular such meetings with the DoH will assist with strengthening the working relationship.

Mar 24



June 24


FD to contact the IPA to arrange a speaker for a Board presentation on AI.

Mar 24



June 24


Paper on declarations of Interest will be provided to the Chair for review and tabled at the next Board meeting.

Mar 24



June 24


The CEO will provide the Board with a copy of the terms of reference of the PCR when received.

May 24



May 24


The CEO will provide a presentation on FSAI’s collaboration with Safefood.

May 24



Oct/Dec 24


The final draft of the Strategy will be circulated to the Board no later than Friday 14th June for agreement by the Bord to circulate to the DoH for approval.

May 24



June 24

There were 15 actions closed from the previous meeting on 26 March 2024.

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.