Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015: Second Stage
I thank the Minister for bringing the much-welcomed Horse Racing Ireland Bill to the House. Like other Senators, I am looking forward to seeing it through this evening so that it can be passed by both Houses before the Taoiseach decides to call the general election.
I hope the Minister returns. While he might not want to be Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, he has my support in getting that role again. This evening we have a great Bill. This evening may be my last opportunity to speak to the Minister. When I met him first it was at the Global Economic Forum. I was smiling because we were talking about €12 billion for agrifood exports. That seemed to me as being a flash of an eye, but we got to the €12 billion, 45% growth and now Harvest 2025 refers to €19 billion, 85% growth. Who would have ever thought it? I know the Minister has brilliant officials in his Department; I have had a lot of dealings with them in the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and Marine. It has been some achievement in the Minister's time. I want to put that on the record. I wish there were more like the Minister, Deputy Coveney, around the place; he has done a wonderful job.