€1 million for foxhunt point-to-point racing from taxpayer-funded HRI
09 December 2015
It has emerged that point-to-point racing, run by foxhunting clubs, has received more than a million euro this year alone from taxpayer-funded Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).
Point-to-point racing is a major fundraiser for foxhunt groups. It is an absolute outrage that the state is channeling taxpayers' money to foxhunts in this way and indirectly helping to support their cruel foxhunting activities.
Speaking in Dail Eireann during the Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015, Agriculture Minister Coveney revealed that "HRI do fund [point-to-points] and have spent over a million euros this year supporting integrity services for point-to-points."
Addressing concerns from pro-bloodsports TD Willie Penrose, Minister Coveney pledged that the aims of the bill did not amount to "some kind of takeover from voluntary hunt clubs of the scheduling and operation of point-to-points".
He said that the "running of point-to-point racing will remain with hunt clubs and the national hunt committee. The only thing that will change essentially is the registration fee that is being paid to register a hunter will actually come through the new streamlined office that will just be managing that process."
The new legislation, he explained, aimed to ensure that "point-to-points, in terms of the horses that are involved, the owners, the betting that takes place, that they're actually covered by the rules and you need legislation to do that, particularly when you're putting the kind of public money resources into point-to-point racing."
"For people who are breeding horses, it will more or less be the exact same structure - except they'll send their check off to a different office but the money will still find its way into the hunt clubs..."
Similarly, hare coursing is a major beneficiary of state funds. In May, a Dail question from Clare Daly TD uncovered that last year, the Irish Coursing Club was paid more than €100,000 by the taxpayer-funded Irish Greyhound Board. The bulk of the money made its way to coursers via advertising in the Sporting Press - the Irish Coursing Club's "greyhound and coursing newspaper".
Such funds for advertising are annual payments and have been going on for years. In 2005, the Irish Independent revealed that the greyhound board had made a decision not to advertise any more in the coursers' paper but later reversed this decision and actually doubled the amount paid out to 148,000 euro per year.
It was announced in October's budget for 2016 that the state has allocated a massive €74 million of taxpayers' money to the horse and greyhound industries (€14.8 million for greyhound racing and €59.2 million for horse racing). That's an increase of €6 million over this year's figure.
Quoted in the Irish Times, pro-bloodsports Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Tom Hayes, welcomed the increase, saying the Irish Greyhound Board provides “a range of infrastructural supports and services without which this sector could not continue to exist”, adding that “the additional funding should be used to encourage participation in the sport."
Hayes' support for cruel foxhunting and hare coursing is well documented. He is on record as saying "I love what is good in rural Ireland, whether it is coursing, hunting hares, beagling or whatever". In 2011, he posed with foxhunters during a hunt at which he canvassed hunters for their support.
The Irish Coursing Club was paid more than 100,000 euro last year by the taxpayer-funded Irish Greyhound Board, it has emerged. The bulk of the money made its way to coursers via advertising in the Sporting Press - the Irish Coursing Club's "greyhound and coursing newspaper".
The sickening details of the payments were uncovered by Clare Daly TD who questioned Minister Simon Coveney about "the amount of loans, funding and/or payments paid out by Bord na gCon to the Irish Coursing Club or any of its affiliated coursing clubs".
In response, Minister Coveney confirmed that in 2014, the Irish Greyhound Board "purchased advertising from the Sporting Press Ltd, a subsidiary company of the ICC, to the value of €92,057" and also paid out €13,988 to the coursers for DNA sampling services.
The funds for advertising are annual payments and have been going on for years. In 2005, the Irish Independent revealed that the greyhound board had made a decision not to advertise any more in the coursers' paper but later reversed this decision and actually doubled the amount paid out to 148,000 euro per year.
Last October, ICABS revealed that a massive €13.6 million of taxpayers' money was to be paid out to prop up Bord na gCon, the Irish Greyhound Board - a body with overall control of greyhound racing and hare coursing and whose chairman is a former member of the Irish Coursing Club executive committee. Details from the government budget showed that the massive pay-out - compliments of struggling taxpayers - was €2.8 million greater than the previous year's grant.
"We have no doubt that some of this cash will make its way into the coffers of the Irish Coursing Club," ICABS stated at the time.
It is an outrage that hare coursers are receiving funds from a government-funded body in a country where the vast majority of citizens want the bloodsport made illegal.
DAIL QUESTION AND ANSWER
Clare Daly, TD
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of loans, funding and/or payments paid out by Bord na gCon to the Irish Coursing Club or any of its affiliated coursing clubs..
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 26th May, 2015.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Simon Coveney)
Bord na gCon is the statutory body responsible for the regulation of greyhound racing under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958. It has specific powers conferred on it by the Greyhound Industry (Racing) Regulations 2007, S.I. 302 2007, which set out the detailed rules under which greyhound racing is conducted. Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Bord na gCon has informed me that it does not have any loans with the Irish Coursing Club or any of its affiliated coursing clubs. Bord na gCon has also informed me that it did not make any payment to the ICC except for service purchases from the ICC or from related companies. In that regard, Bord na gCon paid €13,988 for DNA sampling services to the ICC in 2014 and purchased advertising from the Sporting Press Ltd, a subsidiary company of the ICC, to the value of €92,057 in the same year.
Videos: Ireland's hare coursing cruelty
Get in touch with all your local TDs now and urge them to back a ban on hare coursing.
Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses http://www.oireachtas.ie/members%2Dhist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=31&disp=const
Email TDs online at Contact.ie - http://www.contact.ie/contact-national-politicians
Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.
Express your support for a ban on coursing. Sign and share petitions
Urge Minister Heather Humphreys to show compassion for the persecuted Irish Hare and stop licensing cruel hare coursing.
Email "Stop licensing cruel hare coursing" to Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
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(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)
I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to stop licensing this cruel bloodsport
In coursing, hares suffer at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips. Every season, hare injuries and deaths are documented.
I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and stop licensing coursing.
Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture
Please appeal to the Minister for Agriculture to remove an exemption for hare coursing from the Animal Health and Welfare Act.
Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.
Urgently contact An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and ask him to back a ban on hare coursing.
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Upper Merrion Street,
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