I can confirm that my Department does not engage agency staff to meet its business needs.
My Department employs staff across a broad range of skill sets including Administrative, Veterinary Inspectors, Forest and Agricultural Inspectors, Technical Agricultural Officers, Engineers and Laboratory Staff. Recruitment campaigns take place periodically in partnership with the Public Appointments Service (PAS).
Under the Delegated Sanction Framework which sets out the annual pay ceiling for each agency, State Agencies are permitted to recruit staff to fill vacancies as they arise subject to compliance with their annual pay ceiling.
Staff recruitment within the State Agencies under the aegis of my Department is an operational matter for the agencies themselves.
Accordingly, I have also referred the Deputy's question to each of the agencies for direct reply.