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Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Kavanagh to be asked to explain workings of HRI to Dail committee

Brian Kavanagh: to be invited to appear before the Oireachtas joint committee on agriculture
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BRIAN KAVANAGH, Horse Racing Ireland chief executive, is to be invited to appear before the Oireachtas joint committee on agriculture to answer questions in relation to the running of the organisation.

Since the resumption of Dail business in September the committee has twice devoted attention to Kavanagh's controversial reappointment for an unprecedented third term.

Yesterday, committee chairman Pat Deering, the Fine Gael TD for Carlow-Kilkenny, said the committee was still awaiting correspondence from HRI, arising out of the appearance of its chairman Joe Keeling and other members of the board at a session on October 13.

Deering said. "We asked HRI for further information and supporting documentation but have received nothing yet. In the meantime, at our most recent meeting, we discussed inviting Mr Kavanagh to attend so that members can question him about the workings of Horse Racing Ireland.

"An invitation will go out to him shortly, but I don't anticipate we will be able to find a slot before Christmas because of the volume of business. I would expect it to be arranged for early in the new year."

Reappointed by a majority vote

Deering indicated it was "unlikely" Kavanagh would be asked to comment on the circumstances surrounding his own reappointment.

In July, Kavanagh was reappointed by a majority vote at a HRI board meeting. Minister for agriculture, food and the marine Michael Creed gave an account of the process at a hearing in September, after which the committee concluded it needed to hear from Keeling and board members to achieve further clarity.

Keeling duly appeared with HRI vice chairman Meta Osborne and board member John Moloney. Another board member, John Powell, expressed his unease at the manner in which Kavanagh's reappointment was made, in contravention of government guidelines.

The possibility of Kavanagh being in a position to invoke a contract of indefinite duration (CID) was discussed. Among the information requested by the committee was evidence to support Keeling's contention that Kavanagh will not seek a further extension of the five-year term that began in September.

We asked HRI for further information and supporting documentation but have received nothing yet
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