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January 4th update from ICC

The ICC was before the High Court today (January 4) seeking leave to progress a Judicial Review concerning the decision of the Minister for Health to exclude the activity of coursing from SI 695/2020 and SI 701/2020 on December 24 2020 and December 31 2020 respectively. 

Coursing was permitted under SI 560/2020 enacted on December 1 2020 and without consultation, notice or explanation it was not included on the revised SI 695/2020 issued on December 24 2020 or SI 701/2020 issued on December 31 2020.   On December 24 2020 the ICC immediately sought an explanation from two Government Departments but no response has been received to date.

The judge has granted leave to the ICC for a Judicial Review and the matter is returnable this Friday, January 8th for the hearing of an injunction to permit the remainder of the coursing season to take place.  The club wish to establish the reason as to why coursing was removed from the statutory instrument when comparable sports were retained, while all bodies operated under strict Covid-19 protocols, as did coursing.

An update will be posted on this website following Friday’s hearing.

 

New Year will bring a New Chapter

With every passing year the greyhound industry faces a different challenge and this appears to be the case for some time now. The year 2020 has certainly presented some significant challenges and all have been met with resilience, determination and focus by all participants in the greyhound industry.

Covid-19 has presented a serious challenge to people’s health, livelihoods and way of life within and outside the greyhound community. The coursing community has faced the same challenge and has played its part in complying with all Covid-19 protocols and government guidelines while attending coursing meetings during Level 3 and was equally ready to do the same under the current Level 5. That opportunity has not arisen to date as the ICC, though named as an exempted activity on SI 560/2020, was removed from the amended SI 695/2020 that was published on December 24 just prior to its enactment at 3pm. The singular exclusion of the ICC and the continued inclusion of three comparable bodies has left many unanswered questions, huge frustration, annoyance and disbelief among all coursing supporters. The ICC immediately contacted the Department of Agriculture and the Department of An Taoiseach for clarity as to why coursing was now excluded, more particular when it was represented to the ICC that once we were included on SI 560/2020, we were covered for future levels but no response was received to date.
The Executive Committee has worked non-stop over the Christmas period to progress our case and to that end has engaged Senior Counsel to vigorously pursue the matter on behalf of all coursing people to establish the rationale for such a decision and to advocate for the rights of coursing people to be treated fairly, equitably and with dignity and this includes going before the Courts to vindicate our rights.

In addition to Covid-19, coursing has had to deal with the RHD2 virus for two consecutive seasons. (The ICC presented a very comprehensive submission countering the current licence conditions and this is under the remit of the recently established Licencing Committee of the ICC). This has resulted in a number of clubs being prevented from coursing at their respective venues as they resided within the exclusion zone. However it did not prevent them from availing of support from their fellow clubs to host events on their behalf to ensure the tradition of each club continued and qualifiers for the National Meeting were produced.

The ICC was unable to hold its National AGM or Provincial AGMs during the year and this denied its members an opportunity to meet up and discuss the future and debate the issues of the day. The Executive Committee welcome the time when it is safe to hold such meetings again and bring coursing people together to plan for our future and with the help of a national Covid-19 vaccination programme, this may be sooner rather than later.
During the year, Provincial Nominees were duly elected onto the Executive Committee and numerous sub-committees were established with the ability to co-opt expertise when necessary, to manage specific areas under the coursing umbrella and the subsidiaries of the ICC.

Our Sporting Press readers and advertisers have continued to support the paper but we must acknowledge that with the surge of business for An Post and the closure of the Little Island sorting office in Cork, subscription deliveries are erratic and continually late. Despite our best efforts, it has not been resolved. As this issue is outside our control, we are developing an on-line version of the paper to ensure ease of timely access, so bear with us please.

While much of what I have covered highlights the present difficulties, I have no doubt that we do have a brighter future and rather than let others dictate what that may look like, the ICC’s focus is firmly on protecting the sport of coursing and promoting a future that will instill confidence by developing the necessary strategies to bring us to a better place. In the meantime, we will continue to work with our political representatives that have supported us now and in the past in a professional manner to bring about the required changes.

I wish all participants in the greyhound industry and your families a brighter and more positive 2021.

D.J. Histon
CEO/Secretary
Irish Coursing Club

Dec 27th update from ICC

On Christmas Eve, the Government decided not to include coursing as an exempted activity without any explanation as to why we are the only activity removed from SI 650 of 2020.There appears to be little appreciation of what resources and organising is involved in preparing for a coursing meeting. The ICC set out clearly the reasons why coursing should continue similar to other comparable activities in terms of Covid-19 but we are unaware of any objective proportionate reasons as to why other comparable activities are permitted and coursing is not.

This is clearly disconcerting for clubs in the first instance and greyhound owners secondly, that have complied fully with all Covid-19 protocols after enduring limited opportunity to run their greyhounds since the commencement of the season. The ICC is self-funding and it appears there is little appreciation of this fact and that we are not in a position to offer a care package similar to other State Bodies. As an interim measure, the Executive Committee decided to waive coursing mating cert fees and coursing litter declaration fees as part of a more comprehensive suite of measures to be announced going forward.

Currently, we are left with the unanswered question as to why coursing was removed from the statutory instrument that is permitting other comparable activities. The much-anticipated St Stephens Day coursing meetings, due in no small part to the herculean effort by club members, are now in abeyance, as are those due to commence over subsequent days. Coursing has been let down in a serious way and this is not to belittle the current rise in Covid-19, it is merely to highlight that the risks associated with the continuance of coursing are no greater than other comparable sports, more particular, when we only have nine weeks remaining until the end of the season.

The Executive Committee is invoking all means possible to remedy the matter on your behalf.

I will update you further on Tuesday.

D.J. Histon

CEO/Secretary

Urgent Coursing Notice

I wish to update coursing club members, owners, trainers, sponsors and supporters, of the amended legislation dealing with exempted sporting activities during Covid-19 Level 5 that is effective from December 24 at 3pm.

On December 2, Coursing was included on SI 560 of 2020 and this legislation is now amended in the form of SI 695 of 2020, resulting in coursing not being permitted as the country enters Level 5 status.

The ICC Executive is seeking clarity in respect of this amendment given the rationale for inclusion on the original SI has not changed.   This query is being addressed to the Department of An Taoiseach and the Department of Agriculture.

With deep regret, this means the Christmas/New Year calendar of events cannot take place as scheduled and no netting of hares will take place in compliance with legislation.

I will update you further when more information is to hand.

In the meantime, I wish you and your families a peaceful and safe Christmas.

D.J. Histon

Covid 19 Protocol

Will Clubs please note that your Gate Stewards must remain in place at the entrance until the end of coursing each day to ensure that only those permitted to attend (see below) have access to the coursing field.     

Covid 19 Protocol  

Club Secretaries have been issued with Covid 19 protocol directives in relation to the running of their meeting. This includes how to deal with Working Members, Officials, Vets etc and how to make things safe for all participants.

The following Covid19 protocol directives relate to greyhound owners, trainers & handlers.

  • Strictly a maximum of TWO entrants per greyhound listed on the coursing programme.
  • No spectators permitted.
  • No catering permitted.
  • A Face Mask or Visor must be worn at all times.
  • The Wrist Band issued to you at point of entry must be worn at all times.
  • Your Name & Contact details must be provided at point of entry (this is strictly for contact tracing purposes only).
  • Please have the exact admission charge of €10 ready at point of entry as no change will be given.
  • Once inside the grounds please follow the instruction of the Parking Steward and comply with all Covid 19 signage on display.
  • Please place your Entry Fee in an envelope which is clearly marked with the name of your greyhound(s) and the competition(s) they are participating in. Again no change will be given. The €10 for Membership Card can also be placed in this envelope if you wish to avail of same.
  • Please follow the instruction of the Control Steward in terms of entering the waiting shelter and the Slippers Hut.
  • Catchers must follow the instructions of the stewards at top of field when entering the coursing stretch to lead up at conclusion of course.
  • No shaking hands or other celebratory gestures that involve contact.
  • Maximum of FOUR people at the presentation. Two located at front, two at the rear and all socially distanced. Mask to be worn for photograph.
  • Make regular use of the Hand sanitisers which will be located at strategic points for public use throughout the grounds.
  • Maintain a social distance of two metres at all times.
  • Most importantly of all if you have any of the common symptoms of coronavirus or feel generally unwell DO NOT ATTEND A COURSING MEETING.  

Club Notices

Please note that this week’s Sporting Press will be out on Tuesday, December 22nd and will carry the advertisements for the New Year meetings up to and including most of the January 9th & 10th meetings.

THURLES      
Please note there is a change of dates for the Thurles meeting.  New dates Saturday 30th & Sunday 31st January.

BORRIS IN OSSORY     
Please note the Laois Cup is for 16 All Age Bitches (the advert on this week’s Sporting Press says 16 All Age Dogs in error). Borris In Ossory course with Rathdowney at the Rathdowney field on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd January. Draw takes place next Sunday, December 27th.

CROHANE & KILLENAULE    
Crohane & Killenaule CC have asked us to inform owners / trainers that their Oaks TS this season is a Reserve Oaks TS under the rotation system. The advert for this meeting and Johnstown/Urlingford and the Knockgraffon trial stakes ( all to be held at Woodsgift on January 8,9 & 10) will appear on next week’s edition of the Sporting Press which will be in the shops on Thursday 31st December.

MITCHELSTOWN    
The Mitchelstown Derby TS and Reserve Oaks TS (both for 16 runners) will be run at the Clonmel & Kilsheelan meeting on January 1st and 2nd. The draw for the Mitchelstown stakes will take place this Wednesday night Dec 23rd.

TRIM   
Trim CC will not be holding a meeting this season. The Club wish to thank their loyal landowners, sponsors, owners/trainers and working members for all their support over the years and look forward to holding their annual meeting once again in the 2021/22 season. The full Derby TS from Trim goes to Balbriggan and will be run at Co Carlow on January 8th, 9th & 10th.

JOHNSTOWN & URLINGFORD  
The full Derby TS from Castletowngeoghegan has been allocated to Johnstown & Urlingford who were due to run a Reserve Derby TS this year.  Castletowngeoghegan will be running their own Oaks TS at the Co Carlow meeting but entries to be made via the Co Carlow receiver of entries only please.

LISTOWEL
The Listowel Derby TS and Oaks TS will be completed at Ballyduff. However the two Listowel All Age Cups have been abandoned and will not be run now this season.

BALLYDUFF
Both Derby TS and Oaks TS are now fully subscribed and the club will not be able to take any more entries for these stakes. Preference will be given to greyhounds which were entered for original dates in November. However Owner or Trainer must confirm availability of the greyhound with Receiver of Entries. Otherwise the greyhound will not be included in the Draw.

MALLOW
The Mallow Oaks TS will be completed at Regional. Please check Order of Running for exact running order.

Renewing website membership

Important Notice for those on Sporting Press / ICC Website ‘special deal’ in 2019/20

As there was no Sporting Press during April,May & June your newspaper subscription is extended into January 2021. Therefore there was no point in us offering the ‘special deal’ for the 2020/21 season.

Your ICC website membership remained live until Monday December 7th.   However you will now have to renew membership, if you wish, in the normal way by paying the €50 online. Click on link on top of Home Page.

We look forward to offering the special Sporting Press / ICC Website deal once again in September 2021.

Thanks a million for your continued support.

 

Relive the Finals from Clonmel 2020

NM 2020 – Kitty Butler Final

 

NM 2020 – Champion Bitch Stake Final

 

NM 2020 – Champion Stakes Final

 

NM 2020 – Oaks Final

 

NM 2020 – Derby Final

 

Coursing Update 2 – Covid 19

Following on from the announcement that coursing will not take place currently, please be advised of the following in relation to clubs that had commenced but did not complete their fixture:

(i) Any stakes that had commenced can be completed on the re-commencement of coursing. The club have the option of completing at an alternative venue if that is convenient or more appropriate in all the circumstances.

(ii) Stakes that had not commenced will either be abandoned or a re-draw is necessary and that is a matter for the host club to decide.

We will update you further when we approach the re-commencement of coursing.