Kildare TD calling for compensation for racetrack bookies

17 Nov

James Lawless compensation for bookies copy

Fianna Fail TD James Lawless (Kildare North) is calling for compensation for racetrack bookmakers affected by COVID19 restrictions. 

In a 10th November Dail Question, the Kildare North TD asked the Minister for Agriculture “if tailored Covid-19 support packages have been put in place to compensate on-course bookmakers that maintain stands at race tracks known as seniorities which are a form of premises”

Responding, Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue stated: “Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has informed this Department that there are no immediate plans to provide assistance to on course bookmakers. The Board of HRI considers matters relating to the impact of Covid-19 on the industry as a whole on an ongoing basis. The bookmakers’ representative body is in regular dialogue with HRI and the Association of Irish Racecourses regarding matters of concern.”

“On course bookmakers are licensed annually by HRI and enter commercial arrangements with racecourses regarding their attendance at race meetings to carry out their business” Minister McConalogue added. “Since their attendance at race meetings has not been permitted, those commercial arrangements have ceased.”

James Lawless is among the politicians who back massive state grants to horse racing and greyhound racing. In 2016, 2017 and 2019, he voted in favour of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations which granted €80 million/€80 million/€84 million of taxpayers’ money to horse and greyhound racing. Since 2001, the two gambling activities have been granted more than one a quarter Billion euros.

As a Councillor in 2014, he told ICABS that he is “totally opposed to hare coursing” but as a TD in 2016, he abstained/was not present in the vote on Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan’s bill which sought to ban coursing. The bill was defeated by 114 votes to 20 (with the remaining 24 TDs abstaining/not voting).

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