HORSE Sport Ireland has spent €650,000 on severance payments and settlements to resolve disputes with staff since 2018, leaked documents to The Irish Times newspaper and now in the public domain reveal.

Irish Horse World recently reported legal costs of close to €750,000 at the governing body for equestrian sports in 2020 and 2021, €527,533 of that coming in 2021.

Meanwhile, legal costs are set to spike further in the coming months due to HSI’s judicial review against the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s decision to award a tender to the Irish Horse Board. That decision to launch a judicial review is understood to be one of a number of reasons some of the board resigned in the last two weeks.

Documents show HSI spent €475,000 settling a severance case with a senior employee who departed in the last 18 months. That figure included a payout and €200,000 in legal costs. In 2020, HSI spent €380,000 on two separate employee matters, and €190,000 on a HR case in 2018. There are unconfirmed reports of two more ongoing cases from former employees.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, this week appointed four new board members (see ‘New regime in place at HSI’ on opposite page) with Michael Dowling announced as the chairman in place of Joe Reynolds who stepped aside on Thursday.