Fine Gael Senator blasts Sinn Féin for u-turn on horse and greyhound funding

Senator John Cummins said: “Sinn Féin has claimed consistently to support both industries" but yet they voted against funding them.
Fine Gael Senator blasts Sinn Féin for u-turn on horse and greyhound funding

Kenneth Fox

A Fine Gael Senator has accused the main opposition party of talking out of both sides of its mouth after opposing the €91 million Horse and Greyhound fund.

In a statement released on Thursday, Senator John Cummins said: “Sinn Féin has claimed consistently to support both industries.

"Last year Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy opened his speech on the fund by saying ‘The horse and greyhound racing sectors are success stories that should be celebrated by people across Ireland, and they should, rightly, be supported by the Government through direct financial measures’.

“However, the evidence of Sinn Féin’s disingenuous nature was clear for all to see from votes held in Seanad and Dáil Éireann on Wednesday when they joined Labour, Social Democrats and People Before Profit in opposing the €91 million Horse and Greyhound fund."

Senator Cummins said the horse and greyhound racing industries make hugely valuable contributions to regional and rural economies.

He said in opposing the fund Sinn Féin "have demonstrated they would put the thousands of jobs and incomes supported by the fund in jeopardy. This should act as a wake-up call to all those people employed directly or indirectly or who rely on income generated by both industries."

It is estimated that the thoroughbred industry has an annual economic impact of €1.84 billion with direct and indirect employment of 29,000 people and that the greyhound sector benefits an estimated 10,000 people economically.

The €91 million for Horse and Greyhound Racing will see 80 per cent of the money or €72 million, going to Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and the remaining 20 per cent, or €18.2 million, going to Rásaíocht Con Éireann.

Senator Cummins said: “The importance of animal welfare and integrity in the horseracing and greyhound sectors is a key prerequisite of this fund and is something which is of paramount importance to the Government.

"It is also of paramount importance to HRI and Rásaíocht Con Éireann and the fund ensures many of the excellent initiatives which both organisations run have adequate resources.

"By doing so, they have demonstrated they would put the thousands of jobs and incomes supported by the fund in jeopardy. This should act as a wake-up call to all those people employed directly or indirectly or who rely on income generated by both industries."

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