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Callanan to learn if case is to be heard in Supreme Court

Nanallac Stud owner unhappy over payments based on adertised nomination fees

Foal Levy: consequences of court case could have a profound impact on Irish Bloodstock industry
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Breeder Gerry Callanan will discover tomorrow if his case against Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) over the Foal Levy is to be referred to the Supreme Court, in a case that could have profound implications for the Irish bloodstock industry.

At a hearing in Naas Circuit Court last month, Judge James O’Donohoe allowed HRI’s appeal against a 2016 Small Claims Court judgment which found in favour of Callanan who owns Nanallac Stud near Monasterevin, County Kildare.

However, he also ruled that Mr Callanan could keep the money refunded to him by HRI last year and gave Callanan leave to appeal his decision directly to the Supreme Court, in order to seek clarification of the statute under which the Foal Levy is calculated.

Mr Justice O’Donohoe agreed that HRI had acted correctly but were hamstrung by the legislation and, given, the issues highlighted by Mr Callanan and the implications they could have for the bloodstock industry, he directed that Mr Callanan could take a case stated to the Supreme Court for a review of the law.

He also reserved a decision on the issue of costs pending any action in the Supreme Court, which he declared could be a joint action between HRI and Callanan. HRI stated it was happy with the outcome of the case and did not wish to take the matter further.

On 25 January, Padraig O’Neill BL told the court that Callanan could not afford a Supreme Court action on his own. Mr Justice O’Donohoe adjourned the matter to Thursday's sitting of the Circuit Court in Bray, where he will decide whether to refer the issue directly to the Supreme Court himself.

“It was never about the money, it was about the principle of the matter. I don’t think it is fair that breeders should have to pay a higher Foal Levy based on a nomination fee they didn’t pay. It is particularly unfair on small National Hunt breeders where, in some cases, there is a 50 percent reduction in the nomination fee for a filly foal but the breeder pays the same Foal Levy as those with a colt foal,” Callanan argued.

While he and others want legal clarification, the expense of a Supreme Court action is a heavy burden.

“I’m not in a financial position to take a case to the Supreme Court on my own, it’s too expensive,” he added.

It was never about the money, it was about the principle of the matter
E.W. Terms
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