EQUESTRIAN Horse Sport Ireland Launched

O'Donoghue launches Horse Sport Ireland, the new National Governing Body for equestrian sport.


John O'Donoghue, T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, following consultation with his colleague Mary Coughlan, T.D., Minister for Agriculture and Food, today (20 November 2006) announced the establishment of a new Agency – Horse Sport Ireland – which will be responsible for devising and implementing strategies for the development and promotion of an internationally competitive Irish sport horse industry (breeding, sport and leisure sides). He has designated Joe Walsh, T.D., as the Chairman of the new Agency.
Horse Sport Ireland has been established following the acceptance by both Ministers of proposals contained in a report prepared by Mr. Michael Dowling, former Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture and Food, which recommended new governance structures for horse sport in Ireland. Mr. Dowling consulted extensively with the main sectoral interests, including the Equestrian Federation of Ireland, the Irish Horse Board, the Irish Sports Council and the Departments of Arts, Sport and Tourism and Agriculture and Food in the course of his work and there is widespread support across the sector for these structures which involve the appointment of a Board of Directors with the following membership:
Eight, representing FEI (International Equestrian Federation) disciplines
Four representing other sport/leisure organisations
Five representing the breeding side of the industry
One independent Chairman nominated by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture and Food

Mr. Joe Walsh, T.D., is the first Chairman of the Agency. The other seventeen members of the Board have been nominated by their respective organisations and are listed in the Appendix to this press release. The Agency will initially be established as a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Acts. It will bring within its remit the functions currently being discharged by the Horse Board.
Discussions are continuing with sectoral interests in Northern Ireland with a view to their possible participation in the Horse Sport Ireland structures.
€1.75m has been allocated to Horse Sport Ireland to ensure that it can embark on its ambitious development programme. This funding has been included in the Estimates for 2007, which were published last week.

Among the first tasks of the Board will be to draw up a statement of strategy for Horse Sport Ireland and to oversee the appointment of a Chief Executive.
Minister O' Donoghue said: "Following consultation with my colleague Minister Mary Coughlan TD, Minister for Agriculture and Food, I am delighted to announce the establishment of this National Governing Body for Irish equestrian sport. The Chairperson and Board members have the proven skills, experience and commitment necessary to ensure that Horse Sport Ireland will bring about greater organisational efficiencies for the benefit of the horse sport sector. The challenges facing the new organisation are significant but I am confident that the knowledge, expertise and commitment of the Chairman and the Board will result in a bright future for our equestrian sports."
Board of Horse Sport Ireland 
Mr Joe Walsh TD, Chairman
Mr Larry O'Neill, ILDRA, CDA, PEI
Ms Joan Keogh, Dressage Ireland
Mr Brian Mangan, Eventing Ireland
Mr Gerry Leahy, Eventing Ireland
Ms Patricia Furlong, Showjumping Association of Ireland (SJAI)
Mr Brian Gormley, SJAI
Mr Tommy Dixon, SJAI
Mr Eamon Rice, SJAI
Ms Alice Mernagh, Irish Pony Club/Irish Pony Society
Lt Col Gerry O'Gorman, Army Equitation School
Ms Helen Mangan, Association of Irish Riding Clubs/Association of Irish Riding Establishments
Ms Bernie Brennan, RDS
Mr John Jude Doyle (breeding)
Mr Paul Duffy (breeding)
Mr Michael Duignan (breeding)
Mr William Kennedy (breeding)
Mr Harold McGahern (breeding)