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HRI to make horseracing facilities available to HSE

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

14:32 25 Mar 2020

Following the suspension of all sporting activities by the Irish government on Tuesday, Horseracing Ireland, racing's governing body have made racecourse facilities available to the HSE.

Croke Park is already a drive through COVID-19 testing facility and HRI suggest many racecourses could form a similar function.

The Board of HRI met on Wednesday to discuss the immediate future of horseracing on the island of Ireland, having run ten fixtures behind closed doors prior to Monday's announcement by government ministers.

Collective

Horse Racing Ireland Chairman, Nicky Hartery said:

“What is most important is that as a country we do all we can individually and collectively to fight the transmission of Covid-19 and focus on our health, ensuring that resources such as medical facilities and personnel are allocated where the need is most.

“We have consistently said that racing’s facilities are at the disposal of the Government. Yesterday (Tuesday), the HSE began preparations to use Cork Racecourse in Mallow as a much-needed testing centre for the virus and the centre will be operational from tomorrow.

"Horse Racing Ireland will be working with the HSE and the Government to identify other elements of racing’s personnel and infrastructure that could be used in the co-ordinated reaction to the crisis.”

Continuity

HRI CEO Brian Kavanagh reiterated that racing can continue behind closed doors if necessary once government measures around coronavirus have been relaxed.

“We have run ten race fixtures behind closed doors over the last two weeks through the diligence of key stakeholders in the industry; key personnel in the racecourses, HRI and the IHRB staff; the Order of Malta and medical practitioners; and the media.

“What this has proven is that race fixtures can be safely staged while at the same time offering some level of business continuity for a crucial rural industry."

Kavanagh hoped what was learned from those closed doors fixtures can help a swift resumption of racing.

"The vital experience gained from staging these meetings behind closed doors may assist us to return racing as soon as possible. For the immediate future, however, there are more important priorities.”

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