ONLY two racecourses have had close circuit security cameras [CCTV] installed in their stable yards since the incident at Tramore in 2018 which led to trainer Charles Byrnes serving a six-month suspension.

This week the chief executive of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board [IHRB], Darragh O’Loughlin, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee and faced questioning on the issue from Sinn Fein TD Imelda Munster.

O’Loughlin said: “I acknowledge that the timelines you received a year ago [regarding the installation of CCTV] have not been met and that is deeply frustrating to all of us in the IHRB. The procurement process only commenced last November and a legal challenge from one bidder delayed things. Once the project got underway we started to make good progress but some problems were unanticipated.”

Some stableyards were not electrified, he said, and required civil works and groundwork before “first fixing” or wiring could be installed. A global shortage of electrical components was another delaying factor.

Asked by Deputy Munster for a status update on the project, O’Loughlin said: “Of the 25 racecourses, two have cameras and 14 are ready for cameras. I would hope those [14] will be ready before the end of the year.”

He denied there was any reluctance on the IHRB’s part to complete the project. “All I can tell you is that it is being driven with determination as quickly as is practicable, with regard for protecting the public purse and ensuring the quality of the system.”

Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Suzanne Eade backed her colleague, telling the Committee: “I am very happy with the approach the IHRB has taken”, while Martin Blake of the Department of Agriculture added: “We are disappointed the timelines were not met but we do understand the complexities of the project and the processes that have to be gone through.”