Opening Statement Brendan Gleeson 010714

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Opening Address
Mr Brendan Gleeson, Assistant Secretary General, Department of Agriculture, Food
and the Marine to the
Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine 1st July 2014
Horse Racing Ireland (Amendment) Bill 2014
Chairman, Members of the Joint Committee,
The draft General Scheme of the Horse Racing Ireland (Amendment) Bill 2014 has been
approved by Government. In accordance with procedure, the draft General Scheme has been
published on the Department’s website and forwarded to this Committee for pre legislative
scrutiny.
Following the conclusion of this phase of the legislative procedure, the General scheme will
be sent to the Office of the Attorney General for the drafting of a Bill. Consideration of the
final drafting will be informed by the deliberations of this committee during the pre
legislative phase.
1. Background
The Irish horseracing industry makes a significant contribution to employment and the Irish
economy generally. It is estimated to underpin 14,000 jobs, €1.1bn in economic output
(2012)1 and exports to the value of €205m to 37 countries in 20132.
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial state body, established under the Horse and
Greyhound Racing Act 2001. HRI is charged with the overall administration, promotion and
development of the industry. The 2001 Act sets down the mechanism under which State
support is provided to HRI.
HRI provides funding for integrity services to the Racing Regulatory Body (RRB). The Turf
Club (including the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee), a private body, is
designated as the RRB and is charged with carrying out these functions under the current
legislation. HRI has provided between €5.5m to €7.0m per annum to the Turf Club in respect
of integrity services over the past 5 years.
2. The Indecon Report
In 2012 the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine commissioned Indecon
International Consultants to carry out an independent review of certain aspects of the Horse
1
“Analysis of the economic impact of the Irish Thoroughbred Industry - Report Update” (2013)
2
Data supplied by HRI
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Racing Industry. The Department facilitated a stakeholder consultation process as part of the
Review. Written submissions were sought from interested parties and forwarded to Indecon
for their consideration. The resultant report examined the legislation, governance structures,
funding and management of the industry, including the streamlining of functions assigned by
legislation to HRI and the RRB, and made a number of recommendations in this regard.
The report contained recommendations aimed at providing a more viable and sustainable
horse racing sector. Minister Coveney announced his acceptance of the Indecon
recommendations and his intention to introduce amending legislation to facilitate the
introduction of the changes recommended by Indecon.
3. The Smith and Williamson Report
Arising from the Indecon report, HRI and the RRB established a Streamlining Task Force
with a view to achieving efficiencies and to achieve a minimum of 10% reduction in costs as
identified in the report. Consultants, Smith and Williamson (S&W), were appointed by the
Task Force to act as facilitator in these discussions. S&W prepared a report which contained
18 recommendations which they estimated would give rise to €1.8m/annum in savings.
4. Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine engagement with HRI and the RRB
In preparing the draft General Scheme of the Horse Racing Ireland (Amendment) Bill 2014,
DAFM engaged in discussions with both HRI and the RRB in relation to the
recommendations in the Indecon and Smith and Williamson reports over a considerable
period of time.
5. Draft General Scheme of Horse Racing Ireland (Amendment) Bill 2014
The draft General Scheme of the Horse Racing Ireland (Amendment) Bill 2014 was
circulated to a number of Departments and to the Attorney General’s Office for observations.
A number of observations were received and these were accommodated in so far as this was
possible in the draft General Scheme that has been forwarded to this Committee for pre
legislative scrutiny.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine obtained Cabinet approval on the 3rd June
for the draft General Scheme and to proceed to pre-legislative scrutiny.
6. Main provisions of the draft General Scheme
The draft General Scheme of the Horse Racing Ireland (Amendment) Bill 2014 (“the
Scheme”) builds on recommendations of the Indecon Report, and is
is intended to
2
strengthen governance and transparency within the administration of horseracing, clarify the
respective roles of HRI and the Racing Regulatory Body (RRB), improve accountability and
control over State funding and streamline the administrative functions of the two bodies.




In regard to governance, it is proposed to reduce the size and alter structure of the
HRI Board in order to improve efficiency and accountability and increase Ministerial
representation on the board, in accordance with the Indecon recommendations.
The functions of the RRB will be maintained and strengthened and in particular, the
draft General Scheme includes an enabling provision permitting the Minister to
authorise RRB personnel to carry out functions under the Animal Remedies Act,
1993.
The General Scheme provides for a single streamlined administrative structure within
HRI for registration, financial and other functions of HRI and the RRB without
compromising the integrity functions of the RRB or their property rights in relation to
income derived from the registration of hunters’ certificates for point to point racing
and the licensing of participants in racing. In this context I should make it clear that
there will be no change in so far as the organisation of point to points is concerned.
The organisation of meetings, the issuing of hunter certificates, the acceptance of
horseracing entries, and declarations will continue to be managed by Hunt clubs.
However, the registration functions, i.e. registration of hunter certificates and
trainers will reside, along with other registration functions in HRI.
The Scheme provides for enhanced control and accountability with explicit provisions
empowering the Minister to issue directives to HRI, requiring HRI to comply with
codes of practice and permitting the Minister to withhold funding instalments from
HRI and Bord na gCon if he is dissatisfied with their strategic or other plans. It
provides for the accounts of the RRB to be audited by the C&AG and published, and
for the CEO of the RRB to attend at Oireachtas Committees as required.
Key provisions include:

Improved Governance: Changes to the HRI board’s size and structure to improve
efficiency and accountability. The HRI board currently comprises 14 members, i.e.,
the Chairman and 13 ordinary members. The Minister nominates only the Chairman
and one other member of the board, the latter to represent the interests of horse racing
in Northern Ireland. All other members of the board are nominated by representative
organisations. The Indecon report suggested that this has resulted in low levels of
government/ministerial control over the process of decisions of the HRI board.
It is proposed that the number of ordinary board members is reduced from 13 to 12,
with an increase in the number of Ministerial appointees from 1 to 3. The
representation from the RRB on the Board of HRI is reduced from 5 to 3, a proposal
which the RRB have agreed with.
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HRI currently has 26 board committees which are important in supporting the main
work of the board. The Indecon Report suggested that none of the existing
committees focussed adequately on the particular needs of the betting sector or on
employee requirements. Against this background, The General Scheme provides for
the creation of two new statutory committees to represent those employed in the
sector and the betting industry, respectively, in addition to the two existing
committees which deal with the issues of media rights and race fixtures.
The Scheme also provides for a standard 5 person membership of all four statutory
committees proposed under this legislation (the Race Fixtures Committee, the
Industries Services Committee, the Betting Committee and the Media Rights
Committee) and for HRI to appoint the chair of the Race Fixtures committee. Under
the current legislation, the latter Committee is chaired by an RRB Director of HRI.

Maintaining and Strengthening the RRB Integrity Functions: the retention by the RRB
of responsibility for integrity functions and for the licensing of racecourses, jockeys,
valets and other participants in racing. At local level, the issuing of hunter certificates,
management of horseracing entries and declarations for Point to Point races will
remain with the Local Hunt Clubs.
Amendments to the rules of racing will be subject to consultation with HRI in the
context of budgetary arrangements. HRI will not have any imprimatur over the Rules
of Racing but it is considered appropriate, for the sake of good order, to have some
level of consultation where rules which could have an impact on budgetary
requirements are to be changed.
The Bill also includes an enabling provision permitting the Minister for Agriculture,
Food and the Marine to appoint persons or classes of persons to carry out all or any of
the functions of authorised officers under the Animal Remedies Act, 1993, subject to
such conditions as the Minister feels appropriate. This provision was included at the
request of the RRB.

Streamlining and Efficiency: the provision of greater clarity in relation to the
functions of HRI, including the power to issue directives setting rules and procedures
in relation to its functions. There is a lack of clarity in the current legislation
regarding responsibility for the administration and financial management of the Irish
horse racing industry. This Scheme provides for a single streamlined administrative
structure within HRI for registration, licensing, financial and other functions of HRI
and the RRB, without compromising the integrity functions of the RRB. This will
require
data
sharing
between
HRI
and
RRB.
This streamlining measure includes the processing, but not ownership, of income
from the licensing functions and registration fees for hunter certificates and trainers
4
from Point to Points, currently administered by the RRB. This will eliminate any need
for duplication between HRI and the RRB, particularly in regard to certain
administration aspects (registration of hunters certificates and registration of point to
point trainers/handlers) in relation to Point to Point racing.
It will also pave the way for increased efficiency in the administration of areas such as
finance, IT, payroll, and pensions.
In relation to Point to Points, however, fees for issuing hunter certificates, fixtures
and entries will remain firmly with the local hunt clubs, as will responsibility for
arranging such meetings.

Control and Accountability: The Scheme provides for improved Ministerial control,
with explicit provisions empowering the Minister to issue directions to HRI and
requiring HRI to furnish information in relation to the scope of its activities, including
compliance with codes of practice or other government policy documents, to the
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when requested. There is no obligation
in current legislation requiring HRI to comply with the requirements of the “Code of
Practice for the Governance of State Bodies” or for the RRB to report to HRI and this
deficiency is being addressed.
There are insufficient provisions in the current legislation with regard to the
procedure for making payments to HRI and to Bord na gCo, to allow the Minister for
Agriculture, Food and the Marine to withhold financial support, if he dissatisfied
with the strategic and other plans submitted to support any funding proposals, or their
implementation.
It is proposed to provide explicit permission for the Minister to withhold funding
instalments from HRI or Bord na gCon, if he is dissatisfied with the strategic and
other plans submitted to support any funding proposals, or their implementation.
Funding may also be withheld where HRI or Bord na gCon have failed to provide
information requested by the Minister or to comply with a direction of the Minister.
Similarly, the RRB shall be required to furnish information to HRI in relation to its
activities when requested to do so, and this information may be taken into account by
HRI in determining the annual budgetary requirements of the RRB.
The accounts of the RRB will be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General and
published. The Chief Executive of the RRB will be obliged to attend at Oireachtas
Committees as required.
There is also a provision permitting the Minister to require HRI and the RRB to agree
procedures to ensure compliance with Government codes of Practice, guidelines or
5
policy documents, and in relation to the provision of financial and other information
in relation to any matter funded by HRI.

The Scheme empowers HRI to make various deductions from prizemoney in
accordance with HRI Directives. This is essentially a reflection of current practice.
However, HRI cannot make changes in the directives governing deductions for
charitable funds administered by the RRB without the prior agreement of the Racing
Regulatory Body.
That concludes my opening statement. At this point I am happy to discuss the Heads in
the General Scheme in detail and to answer any questions the members of the Committee
may have.
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