A NEW broom sweeps clean they say and all eyes in the sport horse sector are now on the powerful new ministerial board in place at Horse Sport Ireland.

Seven of the eight members of the previous deeply divided board resigned at various points in the last two chaotic weeks at the Naas-based HQ. The resulting drama was played out in the national media, framed against an avalanche of social media commentary of all hues.

Minister Charlie McConalogue and his team moved quickly this week to appoint four very experienced professionals, drawn from the top ranks of the corporate world, academia and the civil service, to steady the floundering ship at Horse Sport Ireland.

The minister’s action has effectively thrown a lifeline of continued public funding to our industry with the stewardship of these four appointees - for now at least. It must be a big relief for the 50-plus staff at the organisation that such swift action was taken.

The presence of Michael Dowling, Prof. Niamh Brennan, Zoe Kavanagh and Dr Kevin Smyth immediately stamps a new era and culture at HSI, they will be in place as directors until after the 2024 Paris Olympics. What happens after that is not clear at present but will unfold in time.

The monies that have been spent by Horse Sport Ireland on legal issues and on staff settlements in recent years is eye-watering and has to halt. The reputation of both Horse Sport Ireland, and the wider sport horse sector, has taken a hit, some of it self-inflicted, some not.

Let’s hope that the choppy waters are somewhat calmed and we can all now focus on what our industry is there to do and what it does best.