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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 151, 153, 158 - Drugs in sport (Greyhound racing] [6673/15, 6675/15 & 6674/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 151, 153, 158 - Drugs in sport (Greyhound racing] [6673/15, 6675/15 & 6674/15]. (17 Feb 2015)

URL: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20A...


151. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 256 of 27 January 2015, if he is satisfied with the current standards of drug testing in the greyhound industry, in view of his comments that no confirmed cases of stanozolol have been reported in Bord na gCon samples to date, despite reported widespread use of this drug in the industry; if he will provide details on the process of testing for this drug; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6673/15]

 

Bord na gCon has informed my Department that more than 6,000 samples were taken from greyhounds that competed at licensed stadia in 2014, for the purpose of detecting prohibited substances. To date 31 samples have been returned as positive, with four samples awaiting final confirmation. Bord na gCon has stated that all samples analysed are subjected to a range of tests to detect a variety of performances enhancing stimulants, substances that act as “stoppers”, substances such as Anabolic Steroids (Nandoral and Stanozolol) as well as controlled substances such as EPO and cocaine.

I am informed by Bord na gCon that anabolic steroids such as Stanozolol have been controlled substances for male greyhounds since 1st May 2007 and for females since 1st October 2014. Bord na gCon has indicated that since the implementation of these provisions, there have been no confirmed cases of Stanozolol reported in samples taken on its behalf. In the past year Bord na gCon has significantly augmented its regulatory function with the appointment of a Director of Racing Governance and Compliance. Bord na gCon reports that since this appointment, it has undertaken a considerable review of all regulatory functions with a view to achieving the highest standards in greyhound racing integrity. 

Standard Operating Procedures for all areas of regulation are being reviewed and revised with a view to improving regulatory effectiveness and withstanding any subsequent challenge. Bord na gCon notes that within the past year, sample testing at trials and in-competition testing within heats has commenced as it has moved to an “intelligence led” approach to deliver more effective testing.

A new regulatory “Resource Centre” has been established on the Bord na gCon website where industry participants can apprise themselves of all developments and requirements concerning greyhound welfare, anti-doping and medication control, rules and guides, reports and statistics and licensing arrangements.  

Bord na gCon has also recently completed a public consultation on proposed regulatory reform. In addition, it has launched a Review into Anti-Doping and Medication Control, which is being led by Professor Tim Morris (School of Veterinary Medicine & Science, University of Nottingham), with a view to advising it on any strengthening of regulatory systems that might be required, including in relation to sampling and testing for doping and medication. This review, which is on-going, will make recommendations which I expect Bord na gCon to take into account in determining whether any amendments are required to legislation, practices or policies, to ensure both the advancement of the Board's commitment to the welfare of the greyhound and to underpin the integrity of the Irish greyhound industry. In addition my Department is reviewing current legislation with a view to identifying any changes required to give effect to the recommendations contained in the Indecon report into Bord na gCon. 

It is clearly in the best interests of the greyhound sector to ensure that its integrity systems are robust, and kept under review, in order to maintain effectiveness in line with evolving practices and technologies. The Indecon report has made a number of recommendations in relation to the processes around the control of prohibited substances. I am satisfied that Bord na gCon's commitment to its implementation, together with the review currently underway, will ensure that the regime for the control of prohibited substances operates to the very best international standards.

 

 

153. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures in place to deal with persons or shops who are found to have sold illegal substances for use in the greyhound industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6675/15]

 

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): My Department's role in relation to combating the selling of illegal substances is not limited to the greyhound industry but embraces all animal species, with a particular focus on food-producing animals in order to protect consumers. Bord na gCon is the statutory body responsible for the regulation of greyhound racing under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958. In addition Bord na gCon has specific statutory powers conferred on it under the Greyhound Industry (Racing) Regulations 2007, which relate to the conduct of greyhound racing.

My Department's regulatory role in relation to veterinary medicines generally, which derives in the main from EU legislation designed to ensure common, scientifically-based, high standards, apply across all member states, is focussed on ensuring that only appropriately licensed products are imported into and sold in Ireland in accordance with authorised and licensed distribution channels. The main national legislation governing this area is the European Communities (Animal Remedies) (No. 2) Regulations 2007, (SI 786 of 2007). While this legislation applies to animals generally, additional requirements apply to medicines for animals entering the food chain, which are designed to protect consumers from either unauthorised products, or residues of authorised products in excess of those scientifically found to be safe.   

A significant element of the control regime is a licensing process for those involved in the commercial distribution of veterinary medicines at both wholesale and retail levels. In order to obtain a license, applicants must demonstrate that they meet requisite standards in regard to storage and record-keeping, particularly to ensure traceability of products through the system.

Licensed outlets are inspected by my Department's inspectorate to ensure compliance with the conditions of their licenses and with the animal remedies legislation in general. In addition, my Department's Investigations Division investigates any suspected or reported illegal activity in relation to the animal remedies regulations. Breaches of licence conditions or of the legislation generally may result in suspension or revocation of the licence and can also include prosecution in the Courts. T hose found guilty of offences are liable on conviction in the District Court to be fined up to €5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to 6 months, or, if convicted by the Circuit Court, to a fine of up to €500,000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 years.

 

 

158. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if shops selling tonics and other legal substances for greyhounds are being monitored to ensure that they are only selling substances that comply with Bord na gCon guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6674/15]

 

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): While my Department legislates for and implements a control regime in relation to all veterinary medicines (animal remedies), the focus of this is not specifically aimed at ensuring that products comply with Bord na gCon guidelines. Bord na gCon is the statutory body responsible for the regulation of greyhound racing under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958. In addition Bord na gCon has specific statutory powers conferred on it under the Greyhound Industry (Racing) Regulations 2007, which relate to the conduct of greyhound racing.

 

My Department's regulatory role in relation to veterinary medicines generally, which derives in the main from EU legislation designed to ensure common, scientifically-based, high standards apply across all member states, is focussed on ensuring that only appropriately licensed products are imported into and sold in Ireland in accordance with authorised and licensed distribution channels. The main national legislation governing this area is the European Communities (Animal Remedies) (No. 2) Regulations 2007, (SI 786 of 2007). While this legislation applies to animals generally, additional requirements apply to medicines for animals entering the food chain, which are designed to protect consumers from either unauthorised products, or residues of authorised products in excess of those scientifically found to be safe.   

 

A significant element of the control regime is a licensing process for those involved in the commercial distribution of veterinary medicines at both wholesale and retail levels. In order to obtain a license, applicants must demonstrate that they meet requisite standards in regard to storage and record-keeping, particularly to ensure traceability of products through the system.

 

Licensed outlets are inspected by my Department's inspectorate to ensure compliance with the conditions of their licenses and with the animal remedies legislation in general. In addition, my Department's Investigations Division investigates any suspected or reported illegal activity in relation to the animal remedies regulations. Breaches of licence conditions or of the legislation generally may result in suspension or revocation of the licence and can also include prosecution in the Courts. Those found guilty of offences are liable on conviction in the District Court to be fined up to €5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to 6 months, or, if convicted by the Circuit Court, to a fine of up to €500,000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 years.

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