Equine industry contributes £212m per year and 3,300 jobs to NI economy

Date published: 28 June 2019

A new economic analysis has shown that the equine industry in Northern Ireland contributes approximately £212million per year to the economy, with associated employment of up to 3,300 full-time jobs.


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) commissioned Deloitte to undertake an independent analysis of the equine industry in NI, and has today published the ‘Analysis of the Northern Ireland Equine Industry – Breaking New Ground’.

The equine industry in Northern Ireland is represented by approximately 30 organisations from across the thoroughbred, sport, recreation and breeding sectors, as well as educational organisations and ancillary services. The industry is structured on an all-island basis, with most organisations and associations coming under the governing bodies of Horse Racing Ireland or Horse Sport Ireland.  

Publishing the analysis Chief Veterinary Officer for NI, Robert Huey said: “This is a comprehensive analysis of the equine industry. One of the key highlights of the analysis is the direct expenditure generated by the core equine industry in Northern Ireland being estimated at up to £212m per year, with associated employment of up to 3,300 full time equivalents. This demonstrates that the equine industry, based mainly within rural communities, is an important contributor to the Northern Ireland economy. 

“Being aware of the great passion that exists across the various equine sectors, the keen participation in the analysis came as no surprise. The feedback received was significant, with almost 800 people completing an online survey, in addition to over 30 consultations taking place.”

Mr Huey added that the Department will use the analysis to develop an equine strategy for Northern Ireland in partnership with Government departments and the equine industry.

He said: “I wish to thank all those within the equine industry who contributed to the analysis. I look forward to the opportunity of working in partnership with other Government departments and equine stakeholders in developing a future equine strategy and this analysis will provide a sound evidence base in doing so.”

Download the 'Analysis of the Northern Ireland Equine Industry – Breaking New Ground’

Notes to editors: 

In 2018 DAERA commissioned consultancy firm Deloitte to carry out an economic analysis of the equine industry to aid the future development of an equine strategy for NI.

The Deloitte Analysis includes five themes for further consideration by Government and the wider equine industry, as follows:

  • Theme 1: An effective forum for the equine sector;
  • Theme 2: Strengthening the industry, in terms of skills, accreditation and supporting veterinary practice;
  • Theme 3: Infrastructure;
  • Theme 4: Equine assisted therapy and learning services;
  • Theme 5: Data; and
  • Theme 6: Communication.

The Analysis shows how these themes are focused on areas in which the equine industry can deliver outcomes, aligned to the NI public sector objectives, as laid out in the NI Executive Office Outcomes Delivery Plan 2018/19.

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All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email . Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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