The last of a series of Oireachtas Hearings into horse racing in Ireland concluded on Tuesday with representatives of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine the latest to answer questions.
The independence of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) was a topic of discussion among deputies. Representatives of the IHRB were involved in two sessions this month along with Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), while the Irish Racehorse Trainers' Association (IRTA) were also invited to meet the joint Oireachtas committee. This followed a number of high profile comments made in the media by trainer Jim Bolger.
“We are satisfied with the structure of the organisation and the board which is in statute in Ireland,” said an IHRB spokesperson. “This was reiterated by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine last week in the Dáil. “During our hearings, we welcomed the opportunity to detail the regulatory structure of the IHRB and to clarify matters raised by the parliamentary committee.”
Last week Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Ireland, was asked in The Dáil if he was satisfied with the current structure of the IHRB. “I am satisfied the current structure of the IHRB is sufficiently independent to ensure maximum confidence that any allegations concerning doping, animal welfare abuses or other illegitimate activities are adequately investigated and will be followed up, where necessary,” he stated at the time.
The current IHRB board comprises of H.R.D. McCalmont (Chairman), Martin P. O'Donnell (Vice Chairman), John Byrne, Philip McLernon, J.J. Power and David McCorkell.