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Minister Connick attends the Irish National Hunt Awards, Dunraven Arms Hotel in Adare, Co. Limerick, Sunday 16th May

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Seán Connick TD, at the invitation of the Turf Club, attended the Irish National Hunt Awards and presented the award for the Stable Employee of the Year.

Minister of State Connick acknowledged the importance of the thoroughbred industry to Ireland and the 22,000 jobs it provides across the country.  He applauded "the bravery and the dedication of our National Hunt riders, clearly some of the most fearless sportsmen and women around."

Minister of State Connick said "The Government recognises the importance of the horse both in terms of Ireland's identity and in terms of the economic contribution the industry provides.  Horse racing and horse breeding is certainly something which we can be proud of and it is wonderful to see Irish horses, trainers and riders succeed at the highest level internationally year in and year out."

Minister of State Connick noted the need to put in place a sustainable form of support for the industry and he relayed the Government view stating "such support should continue to come from the proceeds of betting duty.  All forms of betting including betting offered over the internet, other remote platforms or over the telephone should make a contribution. Such betting must be brought within the tax net, not just because it will increase revenue, but also because it will mean that those currently not contributing to securing the future of important indigenous industries will contribute also. It is against this background that the Taoiseach announced earlier this week the Government's intention to introduce legislation to ensure that overseas betting providers comply with a licensing regime that will permit them to sell their products into our jurisdiction.  This will have the additional benefit of facilitating the extension of the tax regime for the betting industry to all those providing online and telephone betting and so underpin funding for the racing industry."

Minister of State Connick said he looks forward to working with the industry in the future in his capacity as Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Date Released: 17 May 2010