The conversation surrounding Brexit has been inescapable for the last two and a half years, with MPs still unable to agree upon a deal that would be most beneficial for the UK.
Later in the week, Chief Executive of Irish racing Brian Kavanagh will be travelling to Westminster to liaise with senior officials from both the British Horseracing Authority and French regulatory body, France-Galop.
The trio will ultimately discuss the future of the tripartite agreement, which will face huge implications if the UK were to crash out of the EU without a deal.
As part of the agreement, the freedom of movement for horses without long delays at borders is guaranteed. But a no-deal Brexit will no doubt complicate this as the agreement is reliant on the three countries remaining a part of the EU.
Ireland currently does not have the infrastructure in place to deal with the long delays at customs checks and the potential tariffs that would be placed on thoroughbreds if the agreement was to cease to apply.
Only two border inspection posts exist in Ireland at the minute, with proposals in place to establish another at Dublin Port in time for 29 March. Obviously, other border inspection points will have to be established in the longer term providing the UK continues towards a no deal.
“In the event of Britain crashing out without a deal it would be recognised as a third country and the EU requires movement from third countries to go through border inspection posts,” Brian Kavanagh said on Monday.
“Until that resolves itself we’re prisoners of the macro-politics. Hopefully a plan B can be found in the House of Commons and we can get a clearer picture by next week.
“But even at that stage you’re almost 50 days from the exit so the time to devise alternative arrangements, and put them in place is limited.”
A no-deal Brexit looks as though it will complicate horse racing over in Ireland. The Emerald Isle is one of the largest breeders of racehorses in Europe, and a no-deal scenario looks to have implications as to how horses can compete, and who can purchase horses at an early age.
Goffs Chief Executive, Henry Beeby, has previously expressed concerns over the implications for Irish racing.
“British and Irish racing is really one industry,” he said. “Britain doesn’t produce enough foals to be able to serve its own fixture list – it needs imports.
“So it is absolutely imperative that there is no restriction of freedom of movement, for people or horses, and that there are no tariffs.”
As is ingrained into EU law, Ireland and France will be prohibited from cosigning a bilateral agreement with non-EU countries, which will soon include the UK, without the EU’s permission.
Thus if the tripartite agreement is thrown out of the window, the racing industry will undoubtedly suffer.
Labour MP for St Helens North Conor McGinn, who is also a co-chair for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Racing & Bloodstock, has joined the outcry regarding the issues that the industry faces.
McGinn voiced concerns in The Racing Post, warning of ‘dire consequences’ if political divisions were not put aside. He claimed that “most of my parliamentary colleagues have little regard for racing and even less experience of it.
“Worryingly, I get the sense that this widespread indifference could very easily metamorphose into hostility unless those of us who care about racing get our act together,” said McGinn.
“Because at a time when racing is under intense scrutiny and faces many challenges, my fear is that if we don’t address politicians’ lack of interest and literacy, it could have dire consequences for our sport.”