Irish authorities given powers to investigate unlicensed premises by government
There was a major boost for the integrity of Irish racing in the fight against anti-doping on Friday when the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board was given the power to investigate unlicensed premises by the government.
The IHRB has been handed enhanced powers to investigate any premises for the potential use of animal remedies after Dara Calleary, the Minster for Agriculture, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between his department and the IHRB.
The IHRB's veterinary team are now authorised officers under section 10 of the Animal Remedies Act 1993 as amended, and can access any premises with licensed thoroughbreds, including pre-training yards, studs and pinhookers.
Calleary said: "This MOU aims to advance the already collaborative working arrangements between my department and the IHRB to improve the oversight, investigative and enforcement powers of the horseracing industry to support animal welfare and to strengthen domestic and international confidence in its ‘brand’.
"Whilst extending the powers of the IHRB officers, the MOU does not alter the criteria or sanctioning process of the IHRB. Related prosecutions will remain at the discretion of my department.”
The minister added: “My department has been engaging with the IHRB for a number of months to develop this agreement and will continue to provide assistance to the board, to meet the evolving needs of the racing industry while respecting the strong heritage of Irish racing.”
Denis Egan, chief executive of the IHRB, welcomed the move and said: "We're very pleased to sign the MOU with the department. It will give our veterinary officers additional investigative powers as authorised officers, which we welcome."
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