Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015: Committee and Remaining Stages
I do not think so. We have decided to put this in the legislation because the horse and greyhound fund links these two industries.I expect we will have more comprehensive legislation on the greyhound industry as a whole in the not too distant future, following from the report we have carried out into Bord na gCon and the industry.
The greyhound industry faces challenges but I would not be as pessimistic as some about the future. There are many good people in the industry and many good people on the board of Bord na gCon, who are trying to change the industry for the better. They need help to do that and strong legislation would help in that. We will take the opportunity to ensure that the board must, like Horse Racing Ireland "respond to a request coming from the Minister". It gets its funding from the State and needs to be able to respond to the appropriate codes of practice and governance applying to it, just as they apply to other bodies that are funded or partly funded by public moneys. It is no more or less than that.
I would not see a conspiracy around this corner, although we are making changes. The Minister of State, Deputy Tom Hayes, has primary responsibility for the greyhound industry. There has been significant change in the past number of years, but there was a lot to fix. There is a need for that approach to continue to ensure we have a healthy and growing sport that is properly financed for the future and to ensure we deal with some of the legacy debt issues, which are a big problem for the industry.