Funding for Irish racing remains unchanged in 2020 budget

Brexit is still continuing to cause mass-uncertainty in the Irish racing industry, as Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) chief executive Brian Kavanagh confirmed that the racing body would be examining a number of the Brexit assistance funds set up by the state. 

The confirmation comes as the country’s Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe revealed that funding given to The Irish Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund for 2020 would remain unchanged, despite the projected rise in betting revenue due to the doubling of tax this year. 

Outlined in the budget, The Irish Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund will receive €80m in funding, of which €67.2m will be directed towards HRI. 

The unchanged budget, according to Kavanagh, has been attributed to the ‘stand still situation’ over Brexit in which he expressed no surprise that the budget remained the same.

“All this is framed in a Brexit contest,” he said. “We have long term plans to develop the industry and they will need funding. But the main short term issue is Brexit and in the context of the threat of a no-deal Brexit it was never going to be a year of initiatives.

“It’s a stand still situation. We’ll have to take this away and look at the implications for our own budget. It will make the budget process trickier and tighter.

“But the more immediate priority is to get the country, and the equine industry, through the next few months.”

Leaving the EU with no-deal will effectively put an end to the Tripartite Agreement that promises free movement of horses between the three jurisdictions, which will have detrimental consequences for those in Irish racing.