Equine centre looks beyond core business
The Irish Equine Centre is planning to expand its range of services to non-equine industries
The expansion of environmental and nutrition testing services to cater for the non-equine industries are among Irish Equine Centre's chief executive Sarah McNicholas's plans for 2016.
A graduate of Trinity College and Brunel University in London, Sarah had a long career in finance before joining the Irish Equine Centre in Johnstown, Co Kildare two years ago.
Her initial target was to diversify services to help finance a facility which has been protecting Ireland's horse population for over 30 years.
"When I came here two years ago I was aware that funding was a problem and that we needed to diversify more to make money," she says.
"In fact the centre has been under-funded since the day it was created.
"However, I am positive that we will make progress in next few months. I know the Department of Agriculture would like to make more of a financial contribution and Brian Kavanagh of Horse Racing Ireland has also been very supportive."
"The environmental testing for racing and performance horses is already hugely popular and (environmental scientist) Alan Creighton is now working with trainers as far as France and Germany," adds Ms McNicholas.
Established in 1983 by Sean Collins in response to an outbreak of Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM), the centre has grown from an original three-man team to a current staff of over 55. They work with industry leaders and over 600 veterinary practices throughout Ireland and overseas.