Wednesday 13 December 2017

Kavanagh: I don't believe Daly claims

HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh Photo: Martin Nolan
HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh Photo: Martin Nolan

Johnny Ward

Brian Kavanagh has responded to a series of accusations made about racing in the Dáil, which Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised to investigate.

Independent TD Clare Daly said the racing industry had "a glistening exterior (behind which) lurks a world of vicious exploitation, wholesale and deliberate illegality, ruthless vested interests and criminal behaviour without any type of oversight or regulation."

She claimed that trainers were not putting staff through the books and called the recent agreement on minimum wage between the Irish Stable Staff Association and the Irish Racehorse Trainers' Association "a sham".

She slated the ISSA, saying that while it was represented on the Horse Racing Ireland board, it "is not a trade union or a negotiating body, (does not) ballot members, has no annual reports and you can't join on (its) website."

She added: "When they wrote out to the trainers last year looking for the P60s and the returns of staff who were paid more than €25,000 in order to distribute a pension scheme, they got back only 300 names."

Daly claimed that when the figure of €25,000 was cut in half, trainers responded with 800 names. "(These staff) are buried in the bowels of the black economy," the TD said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny responded that he would be happy "to follow through in finding out the issues quite validly raised... clearly there is an issue to be addressed if there is the extent of black economy."

Comments

Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI, had not had chance to scrutinise Daly's comments in detail but said: "I don't believe what she said is the case, certainly on a widespread basis. If any of those activities are true, the machinery exists within the industry and state to address them.

"Staff are the backbone of the industry, you can never do enough for them and that's why we appointed Carol Nolan for industry training and staff development. The industry needs to do more in developing career paths for people and Carol brokered a very basic deal with the ISSA and the trainers."

Meanwhile, The Last Samuri, last year's Grand National runner-up and one of 110 entries in this year's race, will have one more run before the big day on April 8 when he lines up for the Grimthorpe Chase, at Doncaster in early March - the race he won last year before heading to Aintree.

After last year's efforts The Last Samuri (161) is officially rated only 4lbs lower than last year's Gold Cup third, Don Poli (165), and the only other horses that might cushion him from top-weight of 11st 10lbs are Carlingford Lough (164), Road To Riches (163) and Alary (162).

Outlander, Empire Of Dirt and Road To Riches are other possible Gigginstown contenders. Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh Grand National hero Native River has not been entered, though 14 of last year's 40 runners could go again.

JP McManus has eight entries but his Yanworth will miss Saturday's Contenders' Hurdle at Sandown with a muscle tweak. Nico de Boinville, finally, has been cleared to ride again after smashing his right humerus in a fall in November.

Irish Independent

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