The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed that June 29th, in the third phase of the Government roadmap, was the date outlined for racing to return behind closed doors.
In publishing the roadmap last week though, the Government stated an appetite to engage and consult with sectors on possible changes to the timings in the plan, and Horse Racing Ireland has been fully engaged in that process throughout this week.
In addition, the Taoiseach stated in the Dail yesterday that the Government would examine proposals from sectors of the economy wishing to have restrictions lifted earlier than scheduled.
Significant planning has gone in at racecourses around the country on advanced plans for delivering a safe return to the sport with movement plans developed and additional perspex screening already in place to give greater protection to those deemed as essential to the staging of a race day.
Racing behind closed doors has been taking place in Australia and Hong Kong with a similar return to action planned for Germany shortly.
It is hoped that the main classic races at the Curragh can still be held in 2020 and that the Galway Race Week will take place under similar circumstances as scheduled in July.
“Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish racing community are fully supportive of the Government and the Chief Medical Officer for the way in which they have handled this unprecedented public health emergency,” said Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland.
“Through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine there has been constructive engagement with various Government departments this week on the basis that racing will only resume behind closed doors when it is deemed safe and appropriate.”
“Prior to March 24, race fixtures were among the last group of Tier 2 commercial activities to continue with ten fixtures staged safely behind closed doors with only key personnel permitted on site.”
“Horse Racing Ireland’s Covid-19 protocols which were in place for those fixtures have been further strengthened in the meantime and we feel that the industry can safely resume sooner rather than later and will continue to engage with Government on that basis.”
Look back on our interview with Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh from last week.
“Fair play you are doing a brilliant job of keeping us all informed and motivated”