The Veterinary Council of Ireland and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have signed an agreement to allow vets who qualify in Ireland to practise in Britain if the UK crashes out of the EU.

The mutual recognition agreement is the first of its kind that has been signed on a bilateral basis between the UK and another country in the European Economic Area.

The measure safeguards against potential issues if a no-deal Brexit happens.

Currently EEA citizens who graduate from University College Dublin have an automatic right to work in the UK under an existing agreement, known as the EU Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive.

The agreement announced today means that whatever the outcome of the UK leaving the European Union, graduates of Ireland's only veterinary degree course at University College Dublin can join the Register of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK, and UK graduates can join the VCI's equivalent register.