THE announcement that Horse Sport Ireland had decided to relocate to a new state-of-the-art headquarters and national training centre at Greenogue continued to attract comment in Letters to the Editor as we embarked into the New Year.

The non-affiliated letter writers weren’t too impressed with the proposal but Joe Reynolds, who was confirmed as staying in the role of interim CEO of HSI in January, was determined to press ahead. “I’m not taking my foot off the gas,” he declared.

The following month, the politicians had their say which wasn’t really much of a say going by what the headlines said – ‘Greenogue plan a decision for board of HSI to make’ (Josepha Madigan TD (FG), Minister of State with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion) and ‘Relocation is a matter for HSI board’ (Charlie McConalogue TD (FF), Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine).

News that planning permission for the ‘Centre of Excellence’ had been granted by South Dublin County Council was carried in the issue of Saturday, September 4th when Isabel Hurley also wrote: “Tipperary native Denis Duggan will step down as CEO of Macra na Feirme by the end of the year and will take up the position of CEO of Horse Sport Ireland in January 2022.” Will his foot be on the gas we wonder?

Whatever power source he uses, Duggan will be expected to continue the sport horse world’s fight for more money from the exchequer.

Budget 2022

In the issue of October 16th, Isabel Hurley and Judith Faherty wrote: “Budget 2022 did not go the way of Horse Sport Ireland’s ambitious pre-budget €15 million costed proposals resulting in a €200,000 increase of €5.2 from the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine.”

The following month, a headline over a report from Hurley stated “HSI secures €6.5 million insurance deal”.

Insurance has been a hot topic since Brexit which resulted in the popular British Horse Society insurance cover scheme no longer being available in Ireland.

Public debate on insurance issues for hunting (and with it point-to-pointing), riding schools and pony racing once again brought the world of equestrian to the attention of the wider public.

News that a HSI Membership Club, which has since been launched, will offer public liability insurance and personal accident cover was carried in the issue of Saturday, December 18th along with a report that HSI had been allocated €895,000 by Sport Ireland.

In late November, statements were issued by both Horse Sport Ireland and Sport Ireland over the alleged use of ‘rapping’ poles during some official training sessions.

“Barrister and Sports Law specialist, Susan Ahern BL, is conducting the investigation for Horse Sport Ireland. It’s understood that her report is expected to be completed before Christmas.”