Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Questions (493)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

493. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is satisfied with the supports provided to an organisation (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the importance of the industry to rural Ireland; his views on whether more funding should be provided for dispersal to various persons and organisations that support and underpin this sector of the equine industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12107/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

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.