Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Integrity Portal

Ms. Sarah Bermingham (Authorised Representative for Enda Bolger) Referral – Bellewstown 8th July 2020

The Referrals Committee, Justice Raymond Groarke (in the chair), Mr. Anthony Byrne and Mr. Peter M. Allen convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), Co. Kildare on 13th July 2020 to consider the referral of Ms. Sarah Bermingham (Authorised Representative for Enda Bolger) by the Stewards at Bellewstown on 8th July 2020.


On the day, the Stewards received a report from Chris Gordon, IHRB Security Officer, and Darren Lawlor, Horse Racing Ireland Covid-19 Compliance Officer, that Ms. Bermingham had gained access to the racecourse without checking in at the designated Health Screening area.  


Evidence at the referral hearing was heard from Ms. Bermingham.


In her evidence, Ms. Bermingham expressed her deep regret at what had occurred. She stated that on her way to Bellewstown she suddenly remembered that she had not completed the necessary Health Screening requirements and then panicked as she was the only representative with this horse on the day. On arrival at Bellewstown she made contact with Darragh O’Keeffe, who was riding the horse on the day and who is also a full-time member of staff with Mr. Bolger and regularly assists with the unloading of horses in the stableyard area. Mr. O’Keeffe had already gone through the Health Screening area and was assisting Ms. Bermingham with taking the horse off the lorry. At this point Ms. Bermingham said that she found a wristband on the ground and used this wristband to gain access to the stableyard and racecourse enclosure. She accepted this was entirely the wrong thing to do and that she had panicked as she was between a rock and a hard place with no other assistance for this horse on the day.


Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee were satisfied that Ms. Bermingham was in breach of Rule 272(i) in that she acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing.


In determining the appropriate sanction, the Referrals Committee, outlined the importance of the medical protocols and that they are strictly adhered to by any individual who attends a racecourse. The committee fined Ms. Bermingham €150 and prohibited her from attending any racecourse in Ireland for a period of two months. Following a submission from Ms. Bermingham the committee suspended the second month of her sanction.


The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance.

Copyright © 2018, I.H.R.B, All Rights Reserved.