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Irish Greyhound Board withdraws funding from Rose of Tralee after contestants receive 'malicious threats'

The IGB has been mired in controversy since serious animal welfare issues were uncovered last month.

File photo of Rose of Tralee host Dáithí Ó Sé and contestants in 2017.
File photo of Rose of Tralee host Dáithí Ó Sé and contestants in 2017.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THE IRISH GREYHOUND Board and the Kingdom Greyhound Stadium have “reluctantly” withdrawn financial support from the 2019 Rose of Tralee Festival.

The IGB has been mired in controversy since serious animal welfare issues in the industry were uncovered by an RTÉ Prime Time Investigates programme.

The decision to withdraw sponsorship comes after festival contestants received threats and abuse online since the programme aired last month.

In a statement, the IGB said the decision was made “following much engagement and consultation with festival organisers”.

“Many festival ambassadors, including the Roses themselves, have been the subject of malicious online threats in recent weeks which the Rose of Tralee Festival and the IGB find totally unacceptable.

“The IGB respects the right to protest but this must be done in a peaceful manner, including in online fora and on social media.”

A report, uncovered by RTÉ, which was completed in 2017 but never published, stated that up to 6,000 greyhounds are being killed each year because they are not fast enough.

During the week, Sports Minister Shane Ross told his ministerial colleagues that the practices uncovered in the programme amount to “subsidised cruelty” – the greyhound industry currently gets annual State funding of €16 million. 

It is understood that Ross wants IGB members to resign, telling his Cabinet colleagues it is unacceptable no one is being held accountable.

The IGB strongly condemned the practice uncovered by the programme and promised to implement reforms.

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Órla Ryan

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