“Inexcusable. Reckless. Not in the least public spirited”: Horse Racing Ireland slammed over shameful races during COVID 19 crisis

21 Mar


Horse Racing Ireland [HRI] has been slammed over its decision to allow racing to continue during the COVID 19 crisis.

In a series of Letters in today’s Irish Times (see below), the decision has been condemned as “reckless”, “inexcusable” and “not in the least public spirited”.

“My understanding is that Turf Club doctors are required to be present at these [horse racing] meetings,” one letter writer stated. “Surely they would be much better employed in a hospital setting to assist in the current emergency.”

These racecourse doctors are effectively funded by Irish taxpayers. Since 2001, Horse Racing Ireland has received more than 1 BILLION EUROS of taxpayers’ money, including €67.2 million for 2020 (that’s €1.29 million for every week of the year). As reported previously by ICABS, HRI also channels some of the massive funding it receives into paying for doctors to attend point-to-point races organised by foxhunters. In a past statement, it promised that “HRI will meet the cost of providing appropriately qualified medical officers at every point-to-point which was previously borne by the point-to-point organisers – these doctors will be provided by the Turf Club / Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee.”

The government must IMMEDIATELY withdraw all funding for horse racing and insist on doctors being relocated away from racecourses and into hospitals where they are desperately needed.

Urge Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Health Minister Simon Harris and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to act now.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie
Tweet to: @LeoVaradkar
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeoVaradkar

Simon Harris, TD
Minister for Health
Phone: 01-6354000
Email: simon.harris@oir.ie
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeputySimonHarris
Tweet: https://twitter.com/SimonHarrisTD

Paschal Donohoe TD
Minister for Finance
Email: paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie, minister@per.gov.ie
Phone: +353 (0)1 6045810
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaschalDonohoe/
Tweet to @Paschald


€84 million for horse and greyhound racing

Foxhunters are receiving massive grants – and the services of medical doctors – from taxpayer-funded Horse Racing Ireland, it has emerged


Horse Racing Ireland and race meetings

Sir, – The decision by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to continue holding race meetings behind “closed doors” may be evidence that Irish racing takes place on another planet – one that does not sustain intelligent life.

In the light of the Taoiseach’s comments and predictions in his speech, this decision appears to be reckless and not in the least public spirited.

Intriguingly, its decision to tell the industry to work on was taken by the HRI board in the safety of a virtual meeting, held by telephone. Is there one set of guidelines for the industry’s elite and a lesser set for the people who do the work?

All other racing authorities in Europe have suspended racing. HRI asserts that its decision “is motivated by the need to maintain employment and incomes for people working in the industry”. This is not convincing, since the Government has initiated enhanced, fast-tracked social protection payments for anyone who is laid off work because of the Covid-19 emergency. It smacks more of a desire to cosset breeders, owners and trainers.

The HRI press release states that, “We have consulted with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine throughout this process”. I find it extraordinary that a government department would acquiesce in a decision by a State body that subverts the spirit, if not the letter, of the Government’s fight against Covid-19. Meanwhile, the Government will fork out €67 million of taxpayers’ money to fund HRI this year! – Yours, etc,

Drumree, Co Meath.
Sir, – Horse Racing Ireland is continuing racing behind “closed doors”. This betrays the true purpose of racing, namely off-course gambling, which causes untold financial hardship to many families. – Yours, etc,

Swatragh, Co Derry.
Sir, – In these unprecedented times the decision of Horse Racing Ireland to continue with horse racing is inexcusable. My understanding is that Turf Club doctors are required to be present at these meetings. Surely they would be much better employed in a hospital setting to assist in the current emergency. – Yours, etc,

Bray, Co Wicklow.
Sir, – Is Horse Racing Ireland the only sporting body that could make the FAI look good? – Yours, etc,

Dublin 4.


One Response to ““Inexcusable. Reckless. Not in the least public spirited”: Horse Racing Ireland slammed over shameful races during COVID 19 crisis”

  1. Cristina Economides March 22, 2020 at 5:43 pm #

    Money talk and people walk!!!

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