The official website of Irish Harness Racing Association

IHRA Members update

As you are aware the Irish Harness Racing Association (IHRA) is currently working toward the completion of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) funded Five-Year Strategic Plan. This document is to be our blueprint identifying all that Irish Harness Racing can and will be in the coming years.

The extensive document will cover all aspects of the Industry from breeding to racing, horse numbers required, to domestic and international betting and revenue opportunities, infrastructure needs along with other areas such as the Integration and Pony programmes.

Minister Creed and DAFM have followed through on recommendations within the Indecon Report and supported this Five-Year Strategic Plan through the 100% funding of its preparation – something which rarely, if ever, occurs. Through this act alone, it shows their true commitment to a long-term future for harness racing in Ireland.

A Five-Year Strategic Plan means this industry can grow from its already developing base and enjoy a position of support and endorsement from Government. This can only improve the sport in Ireland and also maintain and enhance Ireland’s place on the world stage of the sport of Harness Racing.

The commitment by the Government and Department was further evidenced last Sunday in an Irish Times article relating to sulky racing. Minister Creed identified the future role of the IHRA in relation to serving the wider community through education and a race track. The Minister stated:
‘…encourage participants to move away from road racing practices and move to racing on tracks and to engage with the regulated sport of harness racing on tracks, as operated by the Irish Harness Racing Association…’

Through the support of Government funding and as part of the Five-Year Strategic Plan, IHRA recently conducted open forums and meetings with Members and Stakeholders in Northern Ireland, Cork and Dublin.

These consultations were led and moderated by the Independent Consultant Allen McAdam. They were a means for all in attendance to address questions and issues that have arisen relating to the future of the sport and to provide an opportunity to talk in small discussion groups and imagine ways to grow and develop the industry.

Your input at these meetings has provided a solid foundation of ideas and suggestions on which to base the Five-Year Strategic Plan.

These gatherings were highly successful and will play an important role in the shaping of the Strategic Plan that will be published in the coming months.

If you were unable to attend, or have had other ideas since the meetings, there will be a further opportunity to provide your thoughts to help shape the Five-Year Strategic Plan. This will be in the form of a survey and these will be sent during the coming weeks.

A lot of good ideas were forthcoming at the Stakeholder Meetings. Information that will shape the future is needed and this survey will provide you with the opportunity to make further contributions to the Strategy process.

Last Saturday Allen McAdam held another round of training and meetings’. This time it was for both the IHRA Board and IHRA Committee Members. The purpose was for Committees’ to conduct their monthly meeting and also continue training in areas relating to Governance of an Organization. The theme was to instill in each participant the importance of the role good Governance and to follow correct procedures in the operation of an Association such as the IHRA.

Subject matter touched on included the mindset of an individual and a collective Association, behavior and responsibilities of both a Board and Committees, as well as decision making, policies and following correct procedures.

As we continue to move forward these learning sessions will prove to be invaluable and enable us to grow in Ireland and to nurture the development of the sport.

Finally, don’t forget the PMU Meeting scheduled at Dundalk on Sunday 3 June. On the card will be five PMU Races worth €30.000 in prize money. The meeting will be broadcast into France after the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby). More details to follow. We look forward to seeing you all there.

4th of May 2018

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