No sign of a change of culture at Horse Racing Ireland - Martin Kenny TD
Speaking after a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture at which the chairman and members of the board of Horse Racing Ireland, were asked about the re-appointment of its CEO in contravention of government guidelines, Sinn Féin agriculture spokesman, Martin Kenny TD, said:
“I am very aware of the amount of public money which has been contributed to the horseracing industry, which amounts to over €1billion since 1999.
“This is a semi-state body which has an obligation to take care of that money and engage in impeccable corporate governance.
“I am not happy today that the members of the board who appeared before the committee showed any sign of a change of culture, even if they did admit that in the re-appointment of the CEO ‘mistakes were made’.
“I now call on the Minister for Agriculture to also assure the committee and the citizens of this state, that such a fast-and-loose attitude to public money and to proper corporate governance will not go unchecked by his department and will not happen again.
“The appointment of this person for a third term and the amount of his salary is just not good enough. It is not in the spirit of the code of practice for corporate governance of semi-state bodies that this should happen.
“I believe that the two ministers, Paschal Donohue, Public Expenditure and Reform and Michael Creed, Agriculture Food and the Marine, should admit that their approval of this appointment, when the board of HRI had not approved it, was negligent of their duties and they should put structures and procedures in place to prevent this ever happening again.
“Meanwhile, I am concerned that a good percentage of the €60 million given to HRI this year goes in prize money which is picked up by some of the richest people in this state, while there are sick people on trolleys in hospital corridors, homeless people sleeping in hotels and doorways and farmers in crisis due to low prices and bad weather.”