The body with responsibility for administering horse racing in Ireland is to spend €500,000 on installing CCTV security systems at all Irish racecourses.
Horse Racing Ireland, on behalf of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, has published a tender for the provision of an “integrity security system”, including the installation and maintenance of CCTV cameras at all stable yards.
The camera systems must include a remote-viewing solution to be located at the IHRB’s premises at The Curragh in Co Kildare, the tender contract notice states, along with portable viewing devices for on-course security staff.
The tender demands that applicants “propose innovative solutions to meet the requirements in terms of technology and backhauling video content”.
All installed systems are to be deployed in public areas only, the HRI said. The completion of the contract is expected to take four years.
CCTV has been a thorn in the side of the HRI for a number of years, particularly after the horse Viking Hoard was injected with a sedative at 100 times the legal amount during a race meeting in Tramore in October 2018.
Some €60,000 was allocated by HRI for the provision of CCTV at racecourses in 2018 but the money was never used, and was instead reallocated by the IHRB for other purposes.
To date, just one of Ireland’s 26 racecourses, Leopardstown, has had a CCTV system installed.
In April of this year, internal emails from within HRI emerged which showed the organisation does not consider CCTV as being a “silver bullet” in terms of removing the possibility of race-tampering, but that “it will distort any message we want to deliver if it’s not fixed”.
At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee in February Brian Kavanagh, HRI’s chief executive, acknowledged the installation of just one system to date represents “a very poor return”.
Mr Kavanagh said at the time that a comprehensive CCTV system for all racecourses would represent “a great asset” in terms of combating doping.