Martin Kenny TD questions exchequer funding of champagne bar for Galway Racecourse
Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin agriculture spokesman, Martin Kenny TD called for a vote on the motion to allocate €80 million from the exchequer to the horse and greyhound industries.
Deputy Kenny said:
“Bord na gCon claims that there are 10,300 people employed in the greyhound industry. I would love to know where these people work and the basis of the claim that the industry contributes €500 million to the economy.
“The horseracing industry, according Horse Racing Ireland, employs 14,000 people and contributes €1.1 billion to the economy.
“With two such very healthy and vibrant industries, why has the exchequer got to hand over such an amount of money? Why does prizemoney for an industry populated by very rich owners and trainers, have to come from an exchequer which cannot pay for the basic medical needs of its senior citizens,” he said.
“For this amount of money, there has to be clear and demonstrable benefits to society and our economy and adherence to corporate governance and transparency in all financial aspects of the industry. Deputy Kenny also referred to irregularities in the appointment of the current CEO of Horse Racing Ireland.
“It was confirmed to me at the Joint Oireachtas Committee, that almost €3 million of taxpayers’ money would be spent on redevelopment of Galway Racecourse, including the construction of a champagne bar.
“There was a time that some people at the Galway Races were happy to drink their champagne in a tent, but now it seems, the taxpayer has to pay for the construction of a bar for them.
“If this allocation of funding goes through this year, I would appeal to all deputies and to the Minister to make sure that when we come back this time next year, we are not still discussing the huge inadequacies in both of these organisations swallowing up millions in taxpayers’ money.”