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Harness Racing Industry

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 October 2018

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Ceisteanna (15)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

15. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which he plans to support the harness racing sector in the future. [41469/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department funded the Indecon Review of the Irish Harness Racing Sector, which was published on 1st November 2017. This report provides the sport with a road map for its potential development and I will be supporting the recommendations within my Department's remit from the outset.

In March 2018 my Department agreed the sum of €63,714 to fund the preparation and development of a Five Year Strategic Plan for the Irish Harness Racing Association and the sector. A draft of this report was recently received and my officials are in discussion with the Irish Harness Racing Association regarding its contents.

I would like to highlight that in addition to the funding provided for the Indecon Review and the development of a Five Year Strategic Plan, I have already committed to continuing and expanding the pilot integration programme, which will be funded by my Department.

- With a view to raising the awareness of the critical importance of good horse welfare amongst road racing sulky participants and the owners and keepers of trotting horses, my Department awarded a tender to carry out an education programme Horse Welfare course for Road-Racing Sulky Drivers and owners. The first course was run in the Dublin region in May 2018. A second course is currently under way in Tipperary. A third course began at the end of September in Cork and has a high level of engagement with participants in the north of the county. The demand for a fourth course is currently being assessed in other areas.

- In 2017 grants totalling €40,020.00 were paid to the Irish Harness Racing Association under the Equine Technical Support Scheme. In 2018, €24,823.00 in grants were also approved under this Scheme.

- Support valued in excess of €25,000 for 'Road Racing Education Programme' were issued in 2017.

Similarly in 2016, the Irish Harness Racing Association received grants totalling €21,704.00 under the Equine Infrastructure grant scheme, with a view to supporting this sector in a targeted way.

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