Cahill requests that coursing industry be provided with financial support

Deputy Jackie Cahill has called for track bookmakers and members of the coursing community that have been adversely affected by Covid-19 to be provided with financial supports.

He has written to Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath, to request that those who experience significant financial losses as a result of the Level 5 lockdown be granted access to the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

‘Rural Ireland cannot be left without such a revenue stream’

“Both of these industries are relied on by people in rural Ireland and Tipperary, in particular, for a livelihood and have faced major restrictions this year as a direct result of Covid-19,” the TD said.

“Covid-19 has essentially prevented the 2020/2021 coursing season from going ahead. There are many people in Tipperary who rely on the short coursing season for a livelihood and they will this year have to go without this.

The cancellation of the national hare coursing meeting that was due to take place in early February in Clonmel will have a major impact on the regional economy.

“This annual meeting is worth approximately €12 to €15 million to the local economy. Rural Ireland and Tipperary in particular cannot be left without such a revenue stream.

“There are many people who rely on the season for a livelihood and they cannot be expected to go without this.”

‘We are left with the unanswered question’

Last week, the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) said it is “unaware of any objective, proportionate reasons as to why other comparable activities are permitted and coursing is not” under new Covid-19 Level 5 restrictions.

On December 2, it was was included on S.I. 560/2020 of the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) Regulations 2020.

This legislation is now amended, resulting in coursing not being permitted under the Level 5 status of the country. In a notice issued to those involved in hare coursing, the ICC said it is seeking clarity in respect of this amendment.