Minister to consider submissions in row over nomination to racehorse body

Businessman James Gough brought High Court proceedings against the association

It is claimed that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is legally obliged to determine this dispute. Above, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

It is claimed that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is legally obliged to determine this dispute. Above, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

 

The Minister for Agriculture is to consider submissions from both parties involved in a legal row over the process used by the body that represents Irish racehorse owners to select its representative to the board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).

Businessman James Gough, who has been the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners’ (AIRO) nominee to the board of HRI since 2015, has brought High Court proceedings against the association over how it intends to select its nominee to HRI’s board.

Mr Gough wants to be re-nominated to the board of HRI, which is Irish horseracing’s governing body, but claims that AIRO’s council has prevented his name being put forward to the 2,000-strong membership.

He claims that another person’s name has been put forward to the members as the AIRO’s nominee to the board of HRI. He claims the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is legally obliged to determine this dispute.

The AIRO, which had denied Mr Gough’s claims had argued in correspondence that the nomination process is valid has been done in accordance with the organisation’s rules.

Mr Gough of Cois Fharraige, Silverbeach, Gormanston, Co Meath has sought orders including an injunction restraining AIRO from holding a general meeting of its members for the sole purpose of electing a nominee to sit on HRI’s board until the Minister had determined the matter.

Mr Gough, represented by Arthur Cunningham Bl instructed by solicitor Peter L Boyle, also seeks an order restraining AIRO from nominating a member to the board of HRI.

The matter was briefly mentioned before the High Court on Friday.

Counsel told Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds that the Minister, noting the dispute that has arisen, has agreed to accept submissions from both Mr Gough and the AIRO on the appropriate method of election for nominating a representative to the board of HRI.

As a result of the Minister’s invitation, both sides agreed that the matter could be adjourned.

Frank Crean Bl for the AIRO said his side hopes the matter won’t trouble the court when it returns in four weeks time.

The AIRO also extended its undertaking, not to proceed with the meeting where the nominee for appointment to the board of HRI is due to be selected, for an additional period of four weeks.