My Department is fully committed to maximising the potential of the Sport Horse industry and continues to provide support to it both financially and with policy initiatives. I have demonstrated my commitment to the industry by increasing the budget allocated to Horse Sport Ireland from €2.0m in 2017 to €2.5m in 2018 and I have approved a further increase of €500,000 to €3.0m in 2019. This is an increase of 50% on the 2017 allocation.
In 2016 my Department commissioned Indecon International Consultants to undertake a review of Horse Sport Ireland. Indecon found that additional resources will be needed to support the expansion of the sector and reports like the strategy report from The Sport Horse Alliance make this point clearly.
Horse Sport Ireland have been making huge strides in implementing the Indecon recommendations. The proposal to rationalise the board is close to finality with only the Northern representative outstanding. A recruitment process through the Public Appointments Service was undertaken to select a new chairperson and three board members. These members are now in place alongside the four industry representatives.
I remain committed to the sport horse industry and I am confident that this additional Government support will help the sector increase its economic and social contribution into the future.