Former food safety chief to chair Horse Sport Ireland

The former chief executive of the Food Safety Authority, Patrick Wall — who was prominent in the recent burger horsemeat controversy — is to become chairman of Horse Sport Ireland.

As part of Horse Sport Ireland's 2012 achievement awards Olympic Bronze medallist Cian O'Connor, on the pitch at Croke Park, jumped a replica of one of the Olympic fences that helped him and his horse Blue Loyd bring home the medal to Ireland.

Professor Wall’s name will be put before the HSI board for ratification tomorrow, having been identified by Sport Minister Leo Varadkar as a replacement for former agriculture minister Joe Walsh. Mr Wall’s selection by Mr Varadkar was made in consultation with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.

The UCD associate professor of public health is one of the world’s leading experts on the subject and was on the committee advising the Beijing Food Authority on food safety controls for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Professor Wall, pictured, stepped down as head of the FSAI in 2003 but remains a member of its healthy eating guidelines steering committee.

He has a long involvement with the equine industry and breeds horses as a hobby. He is director of the UCD Red Mills advanced certificate in equine husbandry, and co-authored a 2010 UCD report on horse welfare.

Professor Wall last night told the Irish Examiner that he was honoured to be put forward for the HSI position. “Show jumping and eventing is a global business now. We have the riders, but we need to address the breeding programmes.

“We are not producing the right product,” he said, pointing out that “HSI is unique among sporting bodies in that it is a sport responsible for an industry worth in excess of €700m per annum.

“I was honoured to be asked,” he added.

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