Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015 Published Today

Martin Heydon Fine Gael TD for Kildare South and Chairman of Fine Gael’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee has today (Thursday) welcomed the publication of the long awaited Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015 which aims to strengthen governance and transparency within the administration of the horse racing industry.

“The publication of this Bill follows a review of certain aspects of the horse racing industry by Indecon in 2012.  This Bill was one of the first to go through a new Dail process of pre-legislative scrutiny by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and Marine of which I am a member.  As part of that pre-legislative scrutiny many stakeholder groups from the Industry were brought before our committee to discuss the heads of the Bill and identify any potential pitfalls or difficulties.

“One of the changes I fought for was the specific inclusion of a representative from stable staff on the Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to recognize the vital contribution that the thousands of stable staff all over the Country make to the industry that is worth so much to our economy.  I am delighted therefore that on the recommendation of our Committee a specific representative of the Stable Staff Association has been included on the HRI board in addition to the Chair of the Industry Services Committee which increases to 2 the members representing the thousands of people employed in the industry in Kildare and around the Country.

“The make up of the Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) received a lot of discussion at those committee meetings.  The Bill as published today, retains a Board membership of 13 members plus a chairman appointed by the Minister.  The make up of the 13 ordinary members has changed with a reduction from 5 to 3 of representatives of the Racing Regulatory Board (The Turf Club), an increase to 3 of members chosen directly by the Minister and an increase to 2 of those representing staff in the industry.  A representative from each of the owners, trainers, breeders, racecourses and the betting industry are retained.

“The Bill as published today will be scheduled for discussion in the Dail and Seanad in the coming months and will go through a number of stages in both houses where amendments can be tabled before it is passed into law.  I look forward to continuing to engage with the various industry stakeholder groups on the details and contents of the Bill as it makes it’s way through the Houses of the Oireachtas.”