Wednesday, 19 May 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Horse Racing Industry
184. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has approved the resumption of point to point racing which is now taking place with large crowds in attendance; and if he will act to stop it in view of a Government request that it be discontinued under current Covid-19 regulations. [26796/21]
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial state body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001 and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.
Point-to-Point racing is funded by HRI and operates under the rules and regulations of the Irish Horse Regulatory Board (IHRB). The Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee (INHSC) is the governing committee.
On 13th January 2021, Government confirmed that Point-to-Point Racing was to cease immediately. HRI confirmed to the Department that point-to-point events ceased from that date. The need to protect public health in the current pandemic situation at a time when number of cases were high was pre-eminent.
Following the Government decision regarding the limited easing of certain COVID-19 related restrictions, HRI and the INHSC confirmed that a phased and limited reintroduction of point-to-point racing began on 10th April.
A review of the limited reintroduction of point-to-point racing at the end of April informed the extension of point-to-point to 18 additional events, taking place in a mix of venues including on existing racecourses and other venues, with a number of events taking place in Northern Ireland. The point-to-point season will conclude by 31st May.
HRI and the IHRB are ensuring that these fixtures are staged in a controlled manner, based on the health and safety protocols which have been applied effectively at race meetings.