An animal welfare inspector based in Limerick was moved from her position due to credible threats to her personal safety, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

The ISPCA said its inspector encountered very difficult and sometimes dangerous working conditions on a regular basis.

According to a report released to RTÉ's This Week under FOI, the Department of Agriculture was informed of the development.

The ISPCA provided an inspector in Limerick for the five years between 2015 and 2020.

A note attached to a Department of Agriculture inspection report said that the ISPCA was reviewing its presence in Limerick due to a lack of funding, and also because the Limerick inspector had received "significant threats to her personal safety on a number of occasions".

The note said that the inspector was moved to another location last year.

The ISPCA said the inspector in Limerick worked under "very difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions encountered on a regular basis".

It said there were "credible threats" to the inspectors personal safety, and the ISPCA has a duty of care to employees - and the risks faced by their inspector became intolerable.

It went on to say that it proved difficult to exercise powers under the Animal Health and Welfare Act in Limerick and in some circumstances it was often difficult to get support from An Garda Siochana when required.

The ISPCA also claimed that animal welfare is "not a priority" for the gardaí.

The Garda Press Office declined to respond to this claim.

Limerick Councillor Dan McSweeney, who raised concerns about the loss of the inspection service in the past, called on the ISPCA to sit down with the local authority, An Garda Síochána and the Department of Agriculture to put in place a robust plan to ensure that animal welfare is protected in Limerick.