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Key report shows value of Irish racing and breeding

Brian Kavanagh: "2016 was a very positive year for Irish racing"
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Irish racing and breeding generated €1.84 billion in expenditure and supported 28,900 jobs in 2016, an economic impact study conducted by Deloitte for Horse Racing Ireland revealed on Thursday.

The report revealed that racing had the second highest sporting attendance in Ireland in 2016, with the 1.3 million spectators at 356 fixtures surpassed only by GAA's crowd figures, while 25 per cent of the adult population are now interested in racing, an increase from 22 per cent in 2012.

Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI, hailed the report as the most comprehensive study of the economic impact of the industry ever conducted and Michael Creed TD, the minister for agriculture, food and the marine, who was in attendance at the Westbury Hotel in Dublin for the launch of the report, stressed that the document will influence budgetary allocation decisions.

The €1.84bn in direct and stimulated expenditure of Irish racing and breeding is comprised of €914m in net core industry expenditure, with secondary expenditure of €927m as initial spending filters through the economy.

The report emphasised just how pivotal a role breeding and racing plays in the rural economy, providing significant employment both directly with 9,500 full-time staff in the core industry and with 5,700 related roles including those in equine science and veterinary work, farriery and horse transport.

When off-course betting and secondary employment is included, the total number of jobs supported comes to 28,900.

"This is an important day for Horse Racing Ireland and we're delighted to launch this substantial piece of work. It is without doubt the most comprehensive study of the economic impact of the industry that has ever been done. This report delves into areas that have previously not been delved into before. It will stand the test of time," Kavanagh said.

He added: "For me, two key points jump out of the report. The first is the incredible rural reach of our industry. It reaches into every county in the country. It is a success story for rural Ireland. The second point is the international reach of our industry. In Ireland there are 50 thoroughbreds per 10,000 people. That's ten times more than Britain or France. The international reach is incredible."

This is an important time for the racing industry in Ireland as the countdown to the October budget has begun and Creed says this economic study will have an impact on how much money is allocated to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund next month. 

Michael Creed TD (centre): Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine

"This document will be considered in great detail in the context of decisions that we'll be taking," Creed said. "We have globally the best people in the industry but it's also an industry built on a foundation that's in every county on the island. Its rural foundation is critically important. In terms of the challenges we face, I'm very conscious that we have the full range of persons in the industry from the captains to the foot soldiers. In terms of its employment, it's a very significant industry.

"The content of this report will influence the decisions that lie ahead in the coming weeks in the context of budgetary allocations."

Alan Switzer, a director at Deloitte who conducted the study, said the industry has a significant global impact.

"Our research identifies that breeding and racing activities in Ireland are the most prominent and important of any country on a per capita basis, having 50 thoroughbred horses per 10,000 people – many multiples more than most racing nations," Switzer said.

He added: "Ireland was second only to the USA as the biggest seller of bloodstock at public auctions in 2016 by value, and more than 20 per cent of the top 100 Flat horses in the world were Irish-bred. Ireland also boasts many of the world’s leading breeders, trainers and jockeys."


THE REPORT IN NUMBERS

€1.84bn total expenditure
€1.05bn core racing and breeding gross expenditure
€438m public and private sales by Irish vendors
€333m ten-year capital investment
1.3m total attendance at racecourses
28,900 direct, indirect and associated employment
9,381 live foals
8,581 horses in training
8,187 individuals involved in ownership
4,100 breeders
2,816 stable staff
883 trainers
25 per cent of the adult population are interesting in racing
21 per cent of the top 100 rated Flat horses are Irish-bred


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It is without doubt the most comprehensive study of the economic impact of the industry that has ever been done