Horse Sport Ireland to set up Equine Discussion Groups

  • 10 October 2015, 11:00

Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) has announced that it intends to establish five Equine discussion groups under the new Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Knowledge Transfer programme.

HSI staff member Michael Doherty has been approved as one of the facilitators for the scheme by the Department of Agriculture, Food the Marine. Each facilitator can set up a maximum of 5 groups with between 12-18 members.

Michael Doherty, who has an Equine Business degree from NUI Maynooth, has been working with HSI for five years where he has been involved in key projects such as CapallOir- HSI’s online database and the Irish Horse Gateway.

Horse Sport Ireland CEO Damian McDonald said:

This scheme is a big opportunity for the Sport Horse sector. Discussion Groups have been very effective in other sectors. While there are challenges with some of the terms and conditions of the new scheme, which are largely due to EU requirements,  we need to make it work. Michael has a huge passion for sport horse breeding and for working with breeders . He will aim to set up a group in each of the 5 Irish Horse Board regions”.

Teagasc and a number of private facilitators are also planning to establish groups but the full list of facilitators has yet to be published by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It is understood that in total 14 Equine facilitators have been approved.

In order to be eligible for the scheme breeders must be over 18 years of age, have an equine premises registration number and have at least two mares . Farmer breeders cannot be members of more than one discussion group so those who are already involved in a dairy, beef or sheep group cannot join an equine group. While HSI are concerned that this will lead to some breeders being excluded, this is one of the basic rules laid down by the EU in relation to the scheme.

The programme requires a significant commitment from breeders with members having to attend at least five meetings as well as completing a Farm improvement plan. However on successful completion of the programme members will receive an annual payment of €750 per annum for three years.

Any eligible breeder who is interested in participating in one if the groups, and who is not already committed to another group, should contact Michael Doherty by email or telephone 045854528.

Michael Doherty (Horse Sport Ireland)

 Michael Doherty                      (Horse Sport Ireland)

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