— Irish Sports Council
CEO John Treacy called and examined
John Deasy: While we’re on Horse Sport Ireland I want to bring up the funding of some of the smaller horse trial events. I’ll give you the example of Camphire. You’re aware of the event being from west Waterford. It’s been built up over the last 14 years. It has international status. I think there are only two other 3-star courses in Ireland. I think the way it works is that HSI provide a Home International hosting grant that has been roughly around €5,000 — I don’t know if that’s increased over the last year or so?
John Treacy: It’s the same.
John Deasy: I know that some horse classes do receive prize-money from the HSI breeding committee. But when I look at the Olympics and where we have been relatively successful over the last few Olympics, the equestrian area really stands out for me. And for a very significant horse trialing event, €5000 seems a very small number to me. And I’d ask you the question, should the Sports Council consider funding these events, such as the Camphire Horse Trials, directly. And I’ll make the case that I think a more significant amount of money should be contributed to an event like that which is an international event, considering the kind of success people who attend these horse trials have gone on to achieve internationally, not just in the Olympics but in world-class events.
John Treacy: Without a shadow of a doubt we’ve done extremely well in equestrian sports down through the years. It is a sport that fits with our natural environment and that is why the Government initiated that piece of work in 2007. The unfortunate part is our funding has been reducing, with a knock-on effect to Horse Sport Ireland whose funding is probably down over €400,000 over the last number of years. They currently allocate €84,000 to events around the country, and they’re broken down to about eight different events, and as part of that Camphire gets €5,000. I suppose it’s never enough in terms of some of these events because they are huge events and very important for the local economy as well, but the reality is funding is down. I know that funding they had in the past is higher than it is now, but that is the reality of life and they have a huge demand in regard to some of those shows.
John Deasy: I’ve no doubt that what you do must be very difficult; just the competitive aspect of different sports looking for their allocation. I’d just make the case for the equestrian field, something like this, that has gown over 14 years to become such an international event, that €5000 is a paltry figure to be honest. Maybe, given its success and given how the Irish equestrian area has grown, some consideration should be given as to how the Sports Council can help these events out a little bit more.
John Treacy: Horse Sport Ireland are undertaking a strategic review at the moment and that issue is definitely coming up in terms of international events and having more international shows around the country. So there are plans afoot in terms of trying to support some of these... with some more funding.
John Deasy: When is that going to be finalised? And do you have an input into that?
John Treacy: We did have an input into it, yes, and we did give feedback to it.
John Deasy: And was that to increase the amount?
John Treacy: No it wasn’t that specific. We were [talking] more on a macro level. But I know it’s part of what they’re thinking around that strategy at the moment. But look, we’d like to be in a position to give more money to these shows because I agree with you Deputy Deasy, they’re very, very important and there are some fine shows right around the country, and nowhere closer to my own heart than west Waterford. We do know they put on world-class events and they bring in international riders and it’s obviously something we will encourage HSI to do, to invest more money in these shows.