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Trainer Brian McMahon banned for three months after breach of Covid-19 rules

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

18:49 8 Jan 2021

Trainer Brian McMahon has been banned from attending any Irish race meetings and fined €1,000 after breaking Covid-19 restrictions.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board say that Clare native McMahon attended the Goffs Sales at Yorton Farm in the UK on 17 December 2020 and then a racemeeting at Thurles on Sunday 20 December.

This meant he did not adhere to Horse Racing Ireland's protocols for race meetings behind closed doors.

He had not adhered to the section of the protocols, which were inline with Government advice at the time, that people returning from abroad were required to self-restrict their movements for five days and provide a negative Covid test result before attending an Irish race meeting.

A statement from the IHRB on Friday evening said that "Mr. McMahon falsely completed the Health Screening questionnaire on Saturday, 19 December 2020 when he answered ‘No’ to the question of whether he had travelled abroad in the previous 14 days."

A referrals committee met via Zoom on Wednesday 6 January in relation to the incident.

McMahon and Paul Murtagh, Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee Registrar, both gave evidence at this.

Murtagh outlined details of two phone calls which took place between himself and McMahon on 24 December 2020.

During the phone calls, McMahon eventually accepted that he had attended the sales at Yorton Farm.

Murtagh also stated that he informed Mr. McMahon that the latest government advice on the day of the phone call had changed resulting in McMahon being required to self-isolate for 14 days.

He said McMahon agreed to undergo a Covid-19 test at the earliest opportunity and not make any declarations for his horses until that period of 14 days had elapsed.

In his evidence, Mr. McMahon said he had attended the sales at Yorton Farm on behalf of a neighbour with the agreement that his neighbour would attend the races at Thurles on his behalf.

McMahon went on to say that the day before the races at Thurles he was informed by his neighbour that due to unforeseen circumstances he would be unable to attend the races.

McMahon said he contacted three other individuals who held a stablepass for him. However, he was unable to obtain race day help for Thurles and he decided to bring the horse to the races himself.

He accepted that this was a reckless and completely wrong thing to do, saying he was he was deeply embarrassed by the situation.

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