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Sport Horse Industry Strategic Planning Process Launched

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, has launched a strategic planning process for Ireland's Sport Horse sector.

The strategy development is being undertaken by Horse Sport Ireland, Teagasc and the Royal Dublin Society, with an emphasis on export-led growth and increasing employment in the sector. The strategic planning process will be overseen by a Steering Group chaired by Professor Patrick Gibbons, Professor of Strategic Management, UCD Smurfit Business School.

The members of the Steering Group are: Professor Pat Wall, HSI Chairman; Damian McDonald, HSI CEO; Professor Cathal O'Donoghue, Head of Teagasc's Rural Economy & Development Programme (Chair of the Working Group); Declan McArdle, Teagasc Equine Specialist Advisor; Michael Duffy, RDS CEO and Pat Hanly, Deputy CEO of the RDS and Dublin Horse Show Director.

Minister Simon Coveney said: "A recent UCD study found that the Sport Horse sector is worth over €700m to the Irish economy with over 47,000 participating in the sector on a regular basis. The sector is crucial to the fabric of rural Ireland and I welcome this initiative to put a plan in place for the commercial development of the sector."

HSI Chairman Professor Pat Wall added: "It is exciting to have the three key organisations working together to help advance the cause of the breeders and producers of sports horses in Ireland. The RDS has a long history of promoting the sector and with Teagasc, the agriculture development authority, and Horse Sport Ireland as the Governing Body involving all the affiliates, the different segments of the sector will be catered for and we will hopefully come up with a roadmap to a commercial industry that will underpin success in all aspects of equestrian sport."

Teagasc's Professor Cathal O'Donoghue said: "This is a sector with potential and Teagasc is pleased to get involved with Horse Sport Ireland and the RDS to develop this plan. Teagasc has considerable experience in strategy development and knowledge transfer and we look forward to playing our part in developing this strategy."

Royal Dublin Society CEO Michael Duffy commented: "The RDS has a special interest in the Sport Horse sector, supporting Irish Sport Horse breeders and producers is part of our core mission. The Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show continues to grow and we need a vibrant Sport Horse sector to underpin the continued development of the show."

A consultation process seeking submissions from interested parties will be announced shortly. It is also intend to hold a number of regional meetings to seek input from participants in the sector.