Wall appointed to horse sport body


The former head of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has been appointed chairman of Horse Sport Ireland.

Prof Patrick Wall, who was the first chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and has been a prolific commentator on the recent horsemeat in burgers scandal, takes up his position on the board of equine body today.

Horse Sport Ireland, the governing body for equestrian sport in the 32 counties, is also responsible for maintaining the Irish Horse Register.

Prof Wall, a professor of public health at UCD, was nominated by Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar, in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Simon Coveney, and the Minister of State for Sport Michael Ring.

Praising his ongoing participation in equestrian sports, Mr Varadkar said Prof Wall, who is a former chairman of the European Food Safety Authority, would bring a "wealth of experience and expertise which will enable Horse Sport Ireland to develop further in the years ahead".

Mr Ring said Prof Wall was "the ideal candidate for this position” and his appointment marked “the start of a new era for equestrian sport in Ireland".

Prof Wall said he was honoured to take up the non-executive role.

Admitting there was some irony to his appointment, he said he would strive to ensure that through targeted global marketing, Irish breeders and trainers of horses at all levels would get a financial return for their passion, commitment and pride in horses.

"The thoroughbred guys have a saying, Brazil for the coffee, France for the wine and Ireland for the horses," he said, and public reaction to the horse meat scandal was evidence that "horses have a special place in Ireland".

A qualified veterinary surgeon and medical doctor, Prof Wall is a co-director of the UCD/Redmills Advanced Certificate in Applied Equine Husbandry, a new course developed for individuals from the fledging Chinese sports horse industry.

A keen horseman, Prof Wall has shown and judged young horses, produced riding horses for the ridden hunter classes, participated in hunter trials and one-day-event competitions, and ridden in point-to-points. During the past couple of years, Prof Wall led the RDS Breeding Group appointed to investigate the lack of success of Irish-bred horses at the top end of show jumping competition.