Independent TD, Michael Lowry has called on the agriculture minister to consider the inclusion of the horse sector in the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS).

The Tipperary TD said that 27,000 farmers registered on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM’s) database have equine premises and “would greatly benefit from the inclusion of their sector” in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) scheme.

Deputy Lowry made his comments to the taoiseach, Michéal Martin, in the Dáil earlier today (Wednesday, March 2).

“A number of recent economic reports into the Irish horse sector have shown that the vast majority of people involved in this industry, horse breeding in particular, have small holdings with five breeding mares or less,” he said.

He added that the equine sector comes under the remit of the DAFM, but has not benefited from any capital investment grants or direct support from CAP.

“Essential infrastructure such as stabling, arenas, horse fencing, out-wintering paddocks and horse-handling facilities should be incorporated and eligible for funding under the new scheme,” he said. 

Deputy Lowry has asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to examine the inclusion of this sector in TAMS and to engage directly with representatives of the thoroughbred and sport horse sectors.

Responding, the taoiseach said that grant aid is available for horse stocks under the Animal Welfare and Nutrient Storage Scheme and the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, in addition to a variety of measures under the TAMS.

“That said, I will talk with Minister McConalogue in terms of the issues you have raised to see if more can be done,” he said.