As Government formation talks draw to a likely conclusion today, it emerged last night that strict adherence to new welfare guidelines would be an element of continued funding for horse racing and greyhound racing.
It is not a part of Government policy until it becomes so but there will be a degree of relief that the funding will be secured given previous antipathy towards Greyhound Racing in particular from the Green Party.
The sketchy details of what would be required began to emerge late last night as part of a discussion document around the overall question of Agriculture.
Both sports have benefitted from Government funding through the Horse and Greyhound racing Fund dating back to 2001 when it was introduced by Fianna Fáil Ministers Charlie McCreevy and Joe Walsh.
In the current budget the sports were allocated €80 million with 80 per cent of that going to horse racing and the balance to Greyhound racing.
The amount was originally designated as equivalent to the amount of revenue generated by betting duty but that has fluctuated down the years.
The funding is a mainstay of both sports and a key element in the protection of more than 30,000 jobs and over €2 Billion of economic activity.
There is no detail as yet on what the welfare measures will include but is unlikely to be far beyond the measures that both sports apply and closely monitor already.
The Green Party referenced sport as part of their manifesto for the General Election and included reference to “Our strategy for keeping children in sport will be centred on low-stakes participation. We will encourage National Governing Bodies to limit score-keeping and record taking in underage sport. This will promote continued participation into adolescence and adulthood, leading to improved elite performance outcomes.”
That was of course written in a time before the huge change which Covid-19 has imposed upon our world but it is still interesting to look back on the promises made as part of the election manifestoes of each of the three parties who now stand on the edge of forming our next Government.
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