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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019

'Challenging environment': Greyhound board to face PAC scrutiny over €16 million State funding

Minister Shane Ross previously asked about the possibility of terminating funding following the RTÉ Investigates programme.

Image: Shutterstock/Irma07

THE GREYHOUND INDUSTRY operates in ”a very challenging environment” as its surplus shrank from over €6 million in 2016 to €417,000 in 2017, an Oireachtas Committee will hear today.

Today, officials from Bord na gCon/The Irish Greyhound Board will appear before the Public Accounts Committee.

The Irish Greyhound Board received €16 million in State funding in 2017 and there have been calls to suspend this funding following an RTÉ Investigates programme broadcast in June. 

That programme claimed that the Irish greyhound industry is breeding 1,000% more puppies than it needs, leading to a cull of thousands of racing dogs every year. 

RTÉ’s report was based on a review by consultancy firm Preferred Results Ltd on behalf of the Irish Greyhound Board carried out in September 2017.

It found that 16,000 greyhounds are born every year, and 5,987 of those are killed because they fail to make qualification times or their performance declines.

Greyhound racing is set to receive €16.8 million in funding this year with supports coming from the Department of Agriculture. 

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross said he and his constituents were “shocked and angered by the revelations within the footage” and asked that funding be terminated.

Today, the Irish Greyhound Board officials will outline how its income was cut in 2017 after Shelbourne Park in Dublin was closed for 22 weeks due to a dispute over the sale of Harold’s Cross.

“The sale of Harold’s Cross, which was concluded in May 2018, has enabled the board to discharge its long-term debt and to provide funding for necessary investment in stadia and infrastructure,” it will say.

Chief executive Gerard Dollard will also tell committee members that issues surrounding animal welfare will be addressed at another committee.

“The matters of regulation and animal welfare have been under discussion by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine and further discussion with that Committee is anticipated in the coming weeks,” he will say. 

Dollard will add that the recently enacted Greyhound Racing Act 2019 will help to boost the industry despite the “challenging” outlook going forward.

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Sean Murray

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