Friday, February 16, 2007Contact: Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive, HRI
+353.45 842800
Ireland puts €10 million in racecourse improvement

Improved public amenities will be the focus of a new racecourse improvement scheme, announced today by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI). €7.5 million will be allocated to qualifying projects on a 75% grant-aid basis providing an overall fund of €10 million. The new scheme will operate in addition to existing HRI Racecourse Capital Development Scheme which provides 55% grants to approved projects.

Priority areas will include disabled facilities (including viewing areas), toilets, kitchens, racecourse signage, PA/tannoy systems, medical facilities and electrification of the betting rings. The scheme will also cover improvements to stable-staff facilities including canteen areas, toilets, showers and other licensing requirements.

Commenting on the scheme, Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive, Brian Kavanagh said: “Following the publication of the Racegoers Consultative Forum Report and our own quality surveys of racecourses, we have been acutely aware of the need to upgrade a number of the basic facilities which are fundamental to the enjoyment of a day at the races. Many racecourses have completed significant capital development projects in recent years and we recognise that some may find it difficult to come up with additional funding for improvements of this sort. For that reason HRI is providing 75% funding for qualifying projects and I am confident that over the next five years, this new scheme will help address the needs of racegoers, owners/trainers and stable-staff alike”.

Qualification for this Scheme will be restricted to most Category 2 racecourses and some Category 1 racecourses (excluding those built since 1996). HRI will undertake individual inspections in relation to each racecourse, assessing the adequacy of facilities in the areas outlined above. Formal applications will then be sought from racecourses in May/June, with a view to the new scheme operating from the start of July 2007.