The official website of Irish Harness Racing Association

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!

Red John Memorial 2 day racing festival has been re scheduled to a new date for 2018 and takes place at Lyre Clonakilty on Saturday June 16th & Sunday June 17th.

Red John Memorial Pace & Maven Trot:

  • Nomination fee €100 due 16th March
  • 1st sustaining fee €100 due 16th April
  • Final sustaining fee €100 due 16th May

Oakwood Stud 3 Yr Old Grass Pacing Championship:

  • Nomination fee €50 due 16th March
  • 1st sustaining fee €50 due 16th April
  • Final sustaining fee €50 due 16th May

Online entry form is now available on the home page.

Deadline for Nominations Friday 16th March

The Irish Harness Racing Racing Association would like to extend our sympathy to the Dunne Family on the passing of Mrs Marie Dunne, Kimmage Dublin wife of the late Christy Dunne Snr.

Rest In Peace.

Reposing at Fanagans Funeral Home, Lower Kimmage Road on Friday afternoon (2 February) from 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm. Removal on Saturday afternoon (3 February) to the Church of St. Paul of the Cross, Mount Argus arriving for Funeral Mass at 1 pm and afterwards to Bohernabreena Cemetery.

IHRA update

Irish Harness Racing Association (IHRA) Chairman Mark Flanagan and IHRA Consultant Arthur Cooper went before the Cross-Party Committee of Agriculture, Food and the Marine last Tuesday in Leinster House at the Oireachtas

(Click for Video)  Note – the presentation commences on the time line of 1 hour and 28 minutes.


A fifteen-minute presentation summarising the previous twelve months for the IHRA and discussion surrounding the Indecon Report was then followed by a ‘Q&A’ session from Politicians fielding questions. 

It should be highlighted that all three major Political Parties along with Independents are very supportive in the actions that have been undertaken by the IHRA.

Developments that were highlighted in the presentation included the completion of Recommendations One and Two of the Indecon Report. Other key points of discussion were Funding and Strategy going forward.

Later that evening the IHRA Board met for its monthly meeting.

There was an assessment of the Oireachtas presentation and in light of what was discussed that afternoon, there was a further review of the strategy going forward.

It was agreed by the Board that the key action to be undertaken during the coming months is the development of a Five-Year Strategy Plan (one of the requirements of the Indecon Report, the Minister and the Department).

Another area for discussion for the Board was in relation to the establishment of Sub-Committees. The make-up of these Sub-Committees will be confirmed during the next two weeks. All Sub-Committees will meet in one location on Saturday 10 February. Again, this is a critical development in both meeting Governance requirements and also in the preparation of the Five-Year Strategy Plan.

On Wednesday a meeting was held with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a ‘roadmap’ as based on the Indecon Report.

Going forward, this Strategy Document will be the most expansive analysis of Harness Racing in Ireland ever conducted. This document will assess all aspects of the industry and the requirements for the sport to develop and progress into the future. Included will be costings for infrastructure such as racetracks, training and stabling.

This is a process that will require time and research before the Plan will be written and then presented to the Department.

The IHRA Board will keep you updated on a regular basis on future developments.

Findings of the Indecon Review of the Irish Harness Racing sector (Video)

Excellent presentation by Arthur Cooper and Mark Flanagan today at Oireachatas Commitee Meeting:

Public meeting starts at 1:24min


Luke Kelleher will represent Ireland in the European Cup for Amateurs

We are delighted to announce that Luke Kelleher has been officially selected by the UET to represent Ireland in the European Cup for Amateurs – Prix de Saint Claude!
The event will take place at  Hippodrome de Vincennes in Paris on Saturday January 27th, the prestigious weekend of Prix d’Amerique!

Luke will be racing against the best amateurs of France, Sweden, Italy, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Russia, Malta, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and Czech Republic

We would like to wish Luke the very best of luck and enjoy racing at Temple of the Trot

Race info:

Amateur Drivers League

On Saturday 27th at Hippodrome de Vincennes, there will be a race for Amateur Drivers from the UET countries, Prix de Saint-Claude.

The drivers are selected by the UET using the following system.
Ratio 1 is calculated by the drivers total wins divided by their number of races run in 2017.
Ratio 2 is calculated by the number of races ran divided by the total number of races ran for amateurs in the Group III countries in 2017.
The final mark awarded to each driver is the product of the two ratios.

Applying the UET process to our C class drivers, means the IHRA has put forward Cork’s Luke Kelleher as their driver to represent Ireland in the Prix de Saint-Claude.

We wish Luke the very best, should he qualify to race at the end of the month.

VDM 2018 Nominations

Nominations close February 1st 2018 
Diamond Creek Farms VDM Fillies Final 
Hanover Shoe Farms VDM Colts Final 
Oakwood Stud 3 Yr-Old Fillies Final 
Oakwood Stud 3 Yr-Old Colts Final 
Please  follow the link for nominations form online: 
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