Over €2m in Covid-19 supports given to Horse Sport Ireland affiliates

  • 15 July 2022, 17:50

The extent of Covid-19 supports given to Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) affiliates has been revealed, with the sector’s governing body providing over €2m throughout the sector to keep it afloat during the pandemic.

Jack Chambers TD, Minister of State for Sport, the Gaeltacht & Defence, third from left, on a visit to Horse Sport Ireland Headquarters in Naas, Kildare, with from left, Avalon Everett, Head of Sport, Legal & Governance, Horse Sport Ireland, Joe Reynolds, Chairman, Horse Sport Ireland, Denis Duggan, Chief Executive Officer, Horse Sport Ireland, Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Una May, CEO, Sport Ireland, and Alison Packman, Eventing Ireland. (Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile)

Like so many industries, the sport horse sector struggled as Covid-19 hit but, thanks to Government, Sport Ireland and HSI financial help, they could remain in operation and keep staff in employment, allowing the sport return to participation.

In total, €2.14m was awarded to HSI affiliates (see table below) from top to bottom, with funding handed out across the industry.

Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers, TD, said: “Just like so many industries and sports, the Horse Sport sector needed Government support to maintain employment and ensure participation from grassroots through to elite level. The Covid funding schemes administered by Sport Ireland were an important support for sporting organisations and I am pleased to note the range of equestrian sports that benefited from the schemes.

Jack Chambers TD, Minister of State for Sport, the Gaeltacht & Defence, with Una May, CEO, Sport Ireland, and Denis Duggan, chief executive officer, Horse Sport Ireland, left, on a visit to Horse Sport Ireland Headquarters in Naas, Kildare. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Over the last two years, we saw how important sport and physical activity was, not just for people’s physical wellbeing but also for their mental wellbeing. It is important now to ensure that people are encouraged to return to sport.”

Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, Una May, added: “The injection of funding at all levels of sport was necessary and most welcome as we navigated through the crisis.

“We all saw how challenging it was for all sporting organisations through the pandemic and it was imperative that we put the necessary supports in place for those organisations who were still permitted to compete during the pandemic.

“Following that, it was also crucial for us in Sport Ireland to provide the support to sporting organisations to pick up where they left off before the virus and that organisations who had suffered financially were supported as they looked to get back on their feet.”

Jack Chambers TD, Minister of State for Sport, the Gaeltacht & Defence, on a visit to Horse Sport Ireland Headquarters in Naas, Kildare. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Eventing Ireland was one of the major beneficiaries of the Covid Support Grant with approximately €250,000 awarded and this was used to secure the future of the sport in Ireland, from grassroots level up.

Alison Packman, General Manager of Eventing Ireland, said: “We were delighted to secure the grant from Sport Ireland, through Horse Sport Ireland, for sporting and safety equipment which equated to approximately €250,000.

“This money was used to purchase ten international size dressage arenas, five full sets of show jumps as well as spirafixes and artificial flowers.

“New equipment is of huge importance to the development of our sport and to our venues and it meant that our members were provided with better facilities and equipment, raising the standards of our national events and contributed to better preparation of athletes and horses wishing to compete at international level.

“Having the opportunity to compete in long arenas at national events is of tremendous benefit, particularly for those athletes and horses looking to take their first steps towards competing at international level.”

Chris Hunt, Eventing Ireland Board Director, added: “Obtaining the grant and availing of this equipment was a huge step forward for the sport in Ireland, especially through the pandemic.

“This new equipment is already contributing to Eventing Ireland’s aims of providing ever-improving and top level facilities for our members, improving performance at all levels and in attracting new members into our sport. The addition of this new equipment was a massive step in the right direction.”

HSI Chief Executive, Denis Duggan, said: “It was vitally important that we, as an organisation, did everything we could through the pandemic to support our affiliates not only stay afloat but also, when the time came, return to participation.

“It was an extremely challenging time for everyone in the industry but, as we know, outdoor sports and the outdoors provided an escape for everyone over the couple of years of the pandemic.

“To have been able to provide the supports for our affiliates when they needed it the most was crucial. Funding provided to events helped them remain viable during the restrictions imposed on sporting organisations and beyond.

“It covered costs for the likes of contact tracing personnel, for covid compliance officers and additional equipment to ensure the events ran under the Covid rules – be that personal protection through hand sanitisation, social distance signage and all of things that became habit through our day-to-day lives.

“As the governing body in Ireland, we needed to ensure that all our affiliates could keep running through Covid-19 and I’m very happy that, through this scheme, they were able to do so.”


 Covid-19 supports given to Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) affiliates

2020/21 2020 Fund, Paid in 2021 and 2022 2021 Fund, Paid in 2022 HP Capital Grant for The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media,  administered by Sport Ireland, paid out in December 2021.
Club Name / HSI Affiliate Scheme 3 Scheme 4 Scheme 3 Scheme 5 2021 Capital Total
HSI  64,696  64,696
SJAI  553,854  553,854
RDS  30,000  30,000
Dressage Ireland  113,488  43,032  156,520
Eventing Ireland  208,529  110,000  45,000  220,203  583,732
Irish Pony Society  24,912  24,912
AIRC  20,000  110,101  130,101
Para  20,000  10,000  30,000
TREC Ireland  3,500  3,500
Killeagh Harriers Hunt Club  3,500  3,500
Co Galway Hunt  12,225  12,225
West Wexford Harrier Club  8,720  8,720
Drumlin Hounds Club  3,595  3,595
Limerick Harriers  7,550  7,550
Tara Harriers  6,845  6,845
IHQA  4,500  4,500
IURCA  4,000  2,000  6,000
IPC  10,000  10,000
AIRE  131,750  100,000  98,000  329,750
HAI  60,000  80,000  25,000  165,000
 1,158,468   40,000   341,532   200,000   395,000   2,135,000 
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