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Dublin hotel cancels conference on greyhound welfare after staff receive threatening phone calls

Event organisers say there are now looking for an alternative venue.

Image: Shutterstock/Klaus Hertz-Ladiges

A WELL-KNOWN DUBLIN hotel has cancelled an upcoming conference focused on ending greyhound cruelty in Ireland after it was “inundated with crank and abusive calls”. 

Event organisers say there are now looking for an alternative venue after Buswells Hotel cancelled their booking citing a “significant risk to the health and safety of the hotel”. 

Greyhounds Around the Globe, an international conference on greyhound welfare, was due to take place on 30 November with a number of TDs lined up as speakers. 

The greyhound industry has faced heavy criticism in recent months after an RTÉ investigation claimed in June that almost 6,000 greyhounds were killed for not racing fast enough in 2017. 

GREY2K USA Worldwide and the Irish Council Against Blood Sports were told on Monday that their event had been cancelled as it was bringing the hotel into disrepute and injuring its reputation.

Carey Theil, a co-founder of GREY2K, said in the two decades of fighting for greyhounds, they have never faced this level of intimidation and harassment.

“It reflects poorly on the character of those involved in the Irish greyhound industry,” he said. 

In correspondence seen by TheJournal.ie, a senior member of hotel staff cited the terms and conditions, signed by event organisers, which state that the hotel “may cancel this event should it have any reason to believe the booking may prejudice the reputation of the hotel”. 

Having considered the event and possible disruption to both you as an organiser and the hotels day to day operations and the threat of protests from members of the public we have decided there is a real and significant risk to the health and safety of the hotel, its staff and event participants and on that basis we have no choice but to inform you that we are cancelling this event.

The hotel said it has been “inundated with crank and abusive calls”  with members of staff being threatened, placing the establishment in “an extraordinary situation which cannot be justified”.  

The hotel said it had no choice but to cancel the event as it must protect its staff from any intimidation. 

Organisers believe that supporters of the greyhound racing industry are trying to “silence public debate through the use of intimidation, harassment, and threats of violence”.

‘National sport’ 

A spokesperson from the Irish Council Against Blood Sports said it was “appalling” that a hotel would be forced to cancel a conference on animal welfare over safety concerns.

“Whatever they’ve been saying over the phone, those people are absolute bullies,” the spokesperson said. 

We will announce a new venue within days and will ensure that Greyhounds Around the Globe is a resounding success. 

Confirmed speakers include animal protection advocates from Ireland, Britain, Scotland, Australia, Macau and the US along with TDs Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy, and Maureen O’Sullivan. 

shutterstock_700461577 Source: Shutterstock/Mikalesg

Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland told the Irish Greyhound Board last week they would not be featuring greyhound racing in any tourism marketing campaigns in Ireland or abroad.

The decision was reached after concerns were raised by Minister for Sport Shane Ross following the RTÉ Investigates programme in June.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil yesterday, his understanding is that Minister Shane Ross asked Fáilte Ireland to consider the matter and that they made the decision for themselves. 

A number of rural TDs criticised the suspension of promoting the sport in tourism marketing campaigns calling on the tourist boards to immediately reverse the decision. 

The Irish Greyhound Board said it was shocked and disappointed by the suspension. 

The IGB has argued that greyhound racing is a “national sport” and an industry in which people are entitled to participate and enjoy. 

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Adam Daly

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