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Inaugural Meeting of IHRA Sub Committees


On Saturday 10 February, the Irish Harness Racing Association (IHRA) conducted the inaugural IHRA Board and Sub Committees Workshop.

The Meeting commenced with chairman Mark Flanagan providing a welcome and introduction where he emphasised the importance of the day as it was the commencement of implementing and working toward a strategy for the Association over the next five years.   

Following was  consultant Arthur Cooper who explained the evolving structure of the IHRA, the Indecon Report and the road map it has provided the Association, the Cross-Party support being received and the positive working relationship with the Department. Two core points of focus moving forward is to not only look toward this upcoming racing season but to put in place a Five-Year Strategic Plan.  

Questions posed for the Committees to consider included:

  • How each Committees’ area of responsibility contributes to the overall industry operation
  • The financial viability of the sport and industry.

Peadar O’Scanaill, the independent chair of the The Veterinary and Welfare Commission (Integrity sub committee of  IHRA) provided a Case Study of how this Committee has functioned during the past twelve months and its goal setting and achievements.

The key point he focused on was the importance of the integrity of the sport as maintained through a level of independence. He highlighted that ultimately pronouncements can only be made through the IHRA Board.

He suggested Committees should look at:

  • Internal and external balance
  • What the public perception is
  • Importance of doing the right  thing
  • To aim to be the envy of other racing bodies

Independent Board Member George McCullough explained the role of Independent Directors and the importance of good Governance.

He made the point that it is the Membership driving this venture and that structure and reputation is everything you have, and without it you have nothing. As an Independent Director, it is his role to ‘look over the shoulder’ of the Association and to maintain a watchful eye over what is going on.

The following Sub Committees then met:

  • Breeding
  • Racecourse
  • Stakeholders

Both Finance, Audit and Risk committees along with the Veterinary and Welfare Commission met with Allen McAdam (independent consultant) to identify what will be required for the Strategy Plan.  

The three sub committees – Breeding, Racecourse and Stakeholders – discussed both immediate operational requirements and planning for the upcoming season to commence in April. 
 The Five Year Strategic was also discussed, and target dates for achievements were timetabled.

In summary, the key position agreed to by the collective is that the Five-Year Strategic Plan needs to be prepared with the understanding this sport and industry can be viable commercially, socially and for the community. 
 For this to occur, the Membership knows it is their input which is of the greatest importance as it is they who will be taking ownership of this Strategic Plan and implementing it.

Please welcome  the newly formed IHRA Sub Committees:

Racecourse Committee
Mark Flanagan
Kevin Corey
Michael Duggan
Con O’Sullivan

David Sheehy
Gerard Kane
Philip Gilligan
Tony Malone
Jonathan Nixon
Sean Duggan
Shane McConnell
Ivan Swindle

Stake  Holders Commitee
Finbar Quill
James Levis
Seamus Quill
Patrick Hill
Donal Murphy
Sean Kane
Alan Wallace
William Flanagan
Patrick Kane jnr
Jonathan Nixon
Simon Duggan
Noel Cowden

Breeding Committee
James O’Sullivan
Clive Richardson
James Delaney
Joe Sheridan
Gerard Kane
David Sheehy
Patrick Hill
TJ O’Farrell

New chapter in the Irish Harness Racing History book!

Onwards and Upwards!

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