HRI boss says stable staff pension benefits will apply equally
Staff in Northern Ireland to be treated “equal but separately” under new scheme
Brian Kavanagh: “A strong effort has been made to address the practical issue of how Northern Ireland full-time staff are treated.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Racing’s new pension scheme for full-time stable staff has been finalised with provision made for benefits to be applied similarly throughout the island of Ireland.
Horse Racing Ireland’s chief executive Brian Kavanagh has moved to ease fears expressed by some trainers in the north that the relatively small number of permanent employees there would be disadvantaged compared to their southern colleagues by being in a separate jurisdiction.
“Under the plan, provision is there to treat stable staff in Northern Ireland equal but separate due to the legislative differences between the two jurisdictions,” said Kavanagh.
“As I understand it a full-time stable staff member in the North will be no less well off than a full-time stable staff member here. But the way they receive money in the North is different to here.
“A strong effort has been made to address the practical issue of how Northern Ireland full-time staff are treated and as I understand it they are not going to be treated any less equally,” the HRI boss added.
The new pension scheme which replaces a plan wound up in 2010 will be administered by a committee made up of representatives from HRI, the Turf Club, the trainers’ association and the stable staff association. It will be chaired by HRI’s former chief financial officer, Margaret Davin.
Roadshows illustrating details of the new plan are planned for later this month with one scheduled to take place in Newry’s Canal Court Hotel on Thursday week.
Kavanagh explained the scheme is non-contributory and will be funded from money taken from trainers’ percentage of prizemoney. That money is taken from all prizemoney won by trainers, regardless of where they come from.
The administration and regulation of racing in Ireland is carried out on a 32 county basis. However some trainers in the north have threatened to split from the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association due to unhappiness at how their concerns about the pensions issue generally have been addressed.