A NOISY street protest outside the gates of Leinster House over the spiralling cost of living crisis provided the backdrop to Horse Sport Ireland’s ambitious pre-Budget submission on Wednesday.

Deputies and Senators ran the gauntlet of vocal protesters to reach the relative calm of HSI’s presentation at which €33.5 million was asked for, in additional to HSI’s ongoing lobbying campaign for an €80 million slice of CAP funding (2023-2027) (TAMS) for equine infrastructure.

It tots up to a tidy €113.5 million - a massive multiplication of the current level of industry funding of around €11 million all in. None of the visiting politicians batted an eye at the presented figures, patiently explained over and over again by the HSI team to all who ventured through the door.

It’s abundantly clear of course that the Government’s main focus in the upcoming Budget will be measures across the board to tackle the energy crisis for households and businesses this winter.

There’s little doubt that HSI will receive an increased budget - of some type and size - and there was strong support in the room for an equine welfare feed scheme and an enhanced anti-doping programme.

The Government focus meanwhile is very firmly on keeping the lights and heats on for consumers nationwide.

Great scenes

There were uplifting scenes in Co Clare when Michael Blake brought the Aga Khan Trophy back to his home turf to a wonderful local turnout with great celebrations enjoyed by all in attendance. Special occasions like that instill a great sense of pride into communities. Memories like that live on long and help spur on the next generation to make their own mark in the equestrian sphere. A rising tide lifts all boats!