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Statement from IHRA Board of Directors

Statement from IHRA Board of Directors

The Board of Directors and the newly formed IHRA Committee structure are somewhat concerned that there appears to be some misunderstanding around the new fee structures for 2018.  The vision of where our industry has come from, where it is right now and where it is going to be in five or ten years time has been well and truly documented, debated and outlined on numerous occasions in recent times.

Whilst the majority are fully supportive of the direction being taken by the Board and the Committees and fully acknowledge that we are in an unprecedented position following the strategic steps take over the last four to five years, the Board however has a responsibility to ensure that all operational costs of the Association are covered within the income streams available. With that in mind the Board in conjunction with the Audit and Risk Committee approved a moderate increase in license fees which we believe is well within industry norms.

An Integrity fee of €25 per competing horse has been introduced and it is hoped that matching funding will be secured to create a budget of approx €20k for integrity purposes. This we believe is a budget well below the industry norms based on the total prize money on offer but is as much as our industry can currently sustain as we are largely still very much in a development phase. Much has been spoken and written in recent years about Integrity testing and now it’s time to deliver, whilst we have the personnel the laboratory resources and the necessary equipment it simply can’t happen without a realistic budget……… and without Integrity there is no industry.

The previous regional Club membership which was a local fundraising mechanism for racing purposes has been replaced with a regional racecourse subscription which is ring fenced for each region and collected centrally by the IHRA … this is not an additional charge and is in line with recommendations of the Indecon report.

The operational workload to ensure the smooth operation of the association is ever increasing and falls largely on the shoulders of the Board of Directors who operate in a voluntary capacity. The Board meets on a monthly basis during the working week with individual members travelling long distances from Belfast, Dundalk, Annaghmore, Galway and Cork and to date no expenses have been paid which is an unsustainable position on a long term basis. Unfortunately the association is not currently sufficiently resourced to employ the personnel required to deal with the daily workload and remains reliant of the good will of a small handful of people in addition to one employee.

As an Association we should be privileged to have a Government funded study conducted and paid for by the Department of Agriculture on our behalf, this shows a real commitment by our political system. The Indecon report is the roadmap for the future direction of our sector and its recommendations have been accepted by the Minister for Agriculture and his Department and it is now the responsibility of the IHRA to ensure the recommendations are implemented to allow us to move to the next phase. With that in mind the Board are well advanced with the implementation of those recommendations with the five year Business Strategy being a critical component, currently there are two consultants working on our behalf to deliver this report. Yet again the IHRA as currently funded is not in a position to cover the costs associated with this report and we have submitted an application for funding to cover the costs associated with this matter.

To date the IHRA are in receipt of some €60k for 2016 & 2017 for Stud Book funding related projects with a further €50k in process for 2018 and this has all come as a backdrop to another strategic decision to take control of our own Standardbred & Trotter Stud Books in late 2015.

In the overall scheme of things the current fee increases are unavoidable in the short term and will have a much lesser significance once the overall strategy is rolled out but right now we have to be self sufficient.

The Board of the IHRA encourages constructive dialogue on all matters through the appropriate channels of the relevant Committee structure.

Finally we would like to remind all members of their responsibilities with regards to the IHRA Social Media Policy and this policy is available to download from the link below.
 Social Media Policy  

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