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A voice at board level for all who work in racing and breeding
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A voice at board level for all who work in racing and breeding
on 29 March 2019
Who is on the HRI Industry Services Committee and how can they help you?

HORSE Racing Ireland’s mission statement is to “develop and promote Ireland as a world centre of excellence for horse racing and breeding”.

It has a 13-member board which includes representatives for the racecourses, owners, trainers, breeders, stablestaff and bookmakers. Of course there are many other sectors and occupations in the racing and breeding industry and they too can have a voice at the board table.

Last year HRI established the Industry Services Committee to represent the interests of those employed, at all levels, in the industry. Chaired by HRI’s director of people and industry education, Carol Nolan, the Committee includes nominees from SIPTU, Mandate, the Irish Jockeys Association and the Irish Stable Staff Association.

The role of the Industry Services Committee is to identify and recommend, to the board of HRI, initiatives that could be implemented or supported, to improve and strengthen the skill, learning and development of employees and services within the industry.

To date, key areas of focus for the Committee have been on adequate levels of representation for stable staff and stud employees; racecourse and workplace facilities for staff; industry education and training; dispute resolution policies and procedures, and the Stable Employee Bonus Scheme [SEBS].

The Committee will meet again next week and Carol will, as always, relate the Committee’s views to the HRI board at their next meeting in April.

Carol explained that the main aim of the Committee during its first year has been to let people know of its existence. And purpose. “Not everyone in racing and breeding is a member of a trade union, so they may not be aware that the Committee is there to listen to their views. The Committee was set to up to make the HRI board more inclusive and representative. What we have been trying to do is identify the issues that are out there and have a work programme to address those issues.”

The Stable Employee Bonus Scheme [SEBS] is one issue which the Committee has been working on recently. “For example, we need the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and the Irish Stable Staff Association to help us make some changes to SEBS, so my role is to tell the HRI board what we need from them.”

A poster campaign has been launched to help spread the word about the Committee’s work and Carol hopes that industry workers will respond positively when they see the posters at racecourses around the country.

Who is on the hri Industry Services Committee?

Carol Nolan,

Horse Racing Ireland

(Committee Chair)

Carol Nolan is director of people & industry education at HRI and oversees the activities carried out by HRI in relation to the support and development of education and training opportunities at every level of the industry. Carol is currently a participant on the Institute of Directors Chartered Director Programme (2019), holds a Masters in Strategic Human Resource Management from DCU, a BA in European Studies from Trinity College and is a qualified Coach. Carol is a board member of RACE and an independent board member within the education sector.

Bernard Caldwell,

Irish Stable Staff


Bernard Caldwell is chief executive of the Irish Stable Staff Association (ISSA). Bernard’s background was originally in sales before being elected to the ISSA. Bernard has always had a keen interest in racing, his son Garry holds a trainer’s licence and Bernard is involved in a number horses which are in training with Garry. Bernard attends racemeetings around the country on a regular basis and is available to be approached with queries and suggestions. Bernard is also a member of Kildare County Council and has been a councillor for the past 25 years.

John Flannery, SIPTU

John Flannery is a retired SIPTU official and has represented the interests of racing industry staff (mostly members of SIPTU affiliates, the Irish Racecourse Bookmakers’ Assistants (IRBA), the Tote Staff Association, and racecourse staff), for many years. Before he retired, John was responsible for bringing to fruition ‘The Irish Horse Racing Industry Staff Employment and Welfare Charter’, which was officially launched at the Punchestown Festival in 2009. After he retired from SIPTU, John was retained by the Irish Stable Staff Association for a period, to represent members at third party hearings. He has sat on the Employment Appeals Tribunal since 2010 and currently provides consultancy and secretarial services to the IRBA.

Andrew Coonan, Irish

Jockeys Association

Andrew Coonan qualified as a solicitor in February 1996 and has a degree in politics and history. He rode as an amateur jockey for a number of years before turning his attention solely to law. Andrew is secretary of the Irish Jockeys Association and practises in all aspect of law but has particular expertise in the area of racing and equestrian industries. Andrew also acts as a trustee on a number of racing-related charitable trusts. He was a director of the Irish Pony Club until 2018. Andrew lectures on the Godolphin Flying Start Course and on the trainers’ course at RACE. He is also on the Advisory Committee of the Jockey Emergency Fund.

Michael O’Donoghue


Michael O’Donoghue is a qualified member of the Irish Auctioneers & Valuers Institute and has worked in the racing industry for the past 45 years, initially with Seamus McGrath. He rode as a qualified rider in bumpers and point-to-points for a number of years before moving into the Turf Club in 1983 (now known as IHRB). Michael has had a number of roles during his time with IHRB including racecourse veterinary assistant, judge, stewards’ secretary, and clerk of the course. He also served as Inspector of Course and Stewards Secretary at point-to-points. Michael has served on a number of committees within the industry, he became an executive committee member of RACE in 1990, a member of the apprentice advisory committee in 1998, and was in charge of apprentices from 1990 to 2007. He has raced worldwide in over 16 countries.


Anyone who works in racing or breeding is welcome to contact any of the five Committee members directly. Alternatively the Committee can be contacted via e-mail at or by phone on (045) 455488.

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