Thursday, 9 May 2019

Questions (147)

Clare Daly


147. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether the system of collection of the foal levy and allocation of the funding raised from it lacks transparency; and the steps he will take to address same. [20308/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial state body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The current Foal Levy scheme, which was introduced in 2000 on a statutory basis, applies to all thoroughbred foals registered in Ireland. The Foal Levy is currently calculated with reference to SI 735 of 2011, which is the governing legislation.

HRI's Foal Levy Committee reviews the rates, bands and structures of the levy on an annual basis and has also considered potential alternative methodologies to calculate the levy due. They have concluded that the current banded/tiered approach represents the most equitable and appropriate way of securing the vital funds needed for the breeding sector. I understand that the majority of foals registered fall into the two lower bands of €35 and €50, and that there is a very high compliance rate of circa 98.3%.

The Foal Levy funding paid by breeders is reserved for the benefit of the breeding sector. Recommendations on the annual funding allocations are considered by an advisory committee made up of nominees from the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association, the Irish Farmers Association and Horse Racing Ireland. Recommendations are then considered by the HRI Board as part of their annual budget review and allocations are recorded within HRI’s annual financial statements.

As such, I have no plans to alter the current arrangements for the levy.