Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Ceisteanna (547)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

547. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether the foal levy should be suspended until there is an investigation and full review of the levy in respect of all the irregularities and the overpayment of the levy and the uncertainty of the legislation to the user. [26530/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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 levy generates vital funding for the Irish Equine Centre, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Without the levy funding, these organisations would be unable to provide the services that they do. As such, I have no plans to alter the current arrangements for the levy.

If the Deputy is aware of irregularities relating to the overcharging of the levy, I would be grateful if she would provide evidence to that effect to my Department.