HRI board to hold EGM over Kavanagh reappointment
The board of Horse Racing Ireland is to hold an EGM today as the controversy over Brian Kavanagh's reappointment as CEO intensifies, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Media coverage of the issue has heaped further pressure on those involved in recent days, Kavanagh's appointment running contrary to Government guidelines - and Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, will take questions today at an Agriculture Committee meeting on the issue.
"We look forward to a full and frank discussion," said a statement from the Committee, which numbers Charlie McConalogue (FF) and Willie Penrose (Lab) among its members. Both have expressed concern about Kavanagh's third term, which began Sunday, considering the perplexing circumstances surrounding it. Sinn Fein's Martin Kenny will also probe Minister Creed.
Minister Creed and Public Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe were allegedly lobbied by HRI chairman Joe Keeling in favour of reappointing Kavanagh. Keeling had allegedly not consulted the board of HRI, while both ministers told the Dáil they endorsed Kavanagh after seeing a business case submitted by HRI's board.
It has also emerged that Keeling had allegedly been lobbying the Department of Agriculture as far back as 2014 and his efforts were allegedly done largely unknown to the HRI board, according to sources.
Kavanagh, who enjoys an annual benefits package of €247,000 including a basic salary of €191,000, has been CEO since HRI's establishment in 2001. Under government guidelines, any CEO of a commercial state body appointed after July 14, 1999 may not serve in that position for more than seven years.