THE sport horse sector has been allocated €5.2 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Budget 2023, which indicates no increase on 2022. A further €1.9 million has been allocated to the Irish Equine Centre, while Horse Racing Ireland’s allocation is up 4% to €72.8 million.

Speaking at a press briefing this morning, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon, TD, said: “There is an allocation of €5.2 million for the sport horse sector. As Minister McConalogue has outlined, the support in equine TAMS as a new standalone element in TAMS next year is something that can really be a step change, particularly for breeders.

“The vast majority of breeders of horses in Ireland have five mares or less and it is hard justify the costs involved in terms of fencing, handling facilities and from farm safely as well, there is an awful lot of merit in this investment so I think it is going to be a big change and one that is welcome.”

Speaking about the equine TAMS investment, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, said: “The significant step change, which we have made a submission to the European Commission for, is the investment through TAMS. It is many many years since there was any grant aid support in relation to investment for horse sport sector at farm level, this is going to be a very significant development in terms of supporting farmers. We hope over the course of the year ahead to roll that out."

McConalogue added: “Also we have a €1.9 million allocation for investment in the National [Irish] Equine Centre in the budget for this year.”

The exact TAMS investment for the sector will be announced at a later date.

Pre-budget submission

Horse Sport Ireland outlined an ambitious pre-Budget submission of €33 million for the sport horse sector. Ten primary areas were identified by the HSI team in their Budget submission including breeding and production support, capital investment for regional equestrian centres, equine farming investment, marketing and sales supports, anti-doping measures and funding for equestrian Skillnet.

Horse Sport Ireland is also funded by Sport Ireland, the authority tasked with the development of sport in Ireland. That funding is yet to be announced. Sport Ireland were allocated an additional €8 million by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media which will support increased funding to High Performance sport in the lead-in to the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games and the ongoing implementation of key actions in the Action Plan for Sport 2021-2023 to drive increased participation.