Budget 2016 Continues increased Funding for Bloodstock        

Kildare South TD and Chairman of Fine Gael’s Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee Martin Heydon has this week welcomed confirmation of a further increase in the Horse and Greyhound Fund to €74m in Budget 2016.

“The increase of €6m from last year’s allocation of €68m is an almost 9% increase which was flagged last year to give certainty to the industry and allow plans for future projects to proceed, which I hope will include the redevelopment of the Curragh Racecourse.

“The significant increase in funding for the horse racing industry over the past two years by Ministers Noonan and Coveney is recognition by this Government of the vital role the industry plays in our overall economy.  The expected increase in exchequer returns from the Betting Amendment Bill which extends betting duty to remote and online operators allowed us to fight for a greater investment in the industry.

“The Bloodstock industry is worth €1.1bn to our economy and is a particularly significant employer in Kildare.  It employs almost 16,000 but it used to employ over 20,000. This is economic activity in parts of rural Ireland where there are very little other employment opportunities. There is no reason that we can’t get back to those employment levels with proper investment and support. 

“I know from my discussions with various stakeholder groups that the ultimate aim is to have a self-funded sector.  While we work towards that, it is positive to see commitment at the highest level for this world class industry.