There was more good news for sport from Budget 2021 when the Department of Agriculture and The Marine confirmed that Horse Racing Ireland was to see a 14 per cent increase in its allocation to a total of €76.8 Million in the year ahead.

The sport has been hit with the double blow of Covid-19 decimating attendance at racecourses, and the threat of Brexit looming on the near horizon.

A strong campaign highlighting the importance of the sport and the industry to Ireland’s international reputation and economy found a receptive ear in Government and the boost to funding will be analysed over the coming weeks ahead of the sport producing its own budget for the year.

“The increase is obviously welcome and it’s in line with our submissions pre-budget, so it will help us tackle the twin challenges of Covid and Brexit,” said Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh speaking to The Racing Post.

“Those are the two main issues, and to kick on with elements of the five-year strategic plan. In that sense, the increase in funding is very welcome and it reflects a support for the industry. We have made the point that the industry is resilient, and is one that, with support, can come through and deliver for the country after this pandemic.”

“But we are facing big challenges – we have to be realistic about that. We were concerned about the challenge of Brexit before Covid-19, which has brought a different set of problems.”

Prize money has been reduced this year across all grades of racing but the sport has carried on and provided a welcome return to Live Sport on our screens when the Tattersalls Guineas Meeting from the Curragh was broadcast on RTÉ in May.

Greyhound Racing has also benefitted to the tune of €2.4 Million in the Budget announced on Tuesday, while Sport Ireland’s funding to spread across the wider sports economy has increased by €36 Million to €104.5 Million for the year ahead.

Sport for Business Partners