herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

Stadium sale is barking, say dog owners

Phil Meaney
Phil Meaney

GREYHOUND owners in Dublin are outraged that the "home of racing" in the capital is to be sold.

Harold's Cross Greyhound Stadium will be put on the market by the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) next year as the sports body looks to recoup losses.

Closure of the stadium has sparked outrage among Dublin's greyhound community, with the Dublin Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association (DGOBA) labelling the sale "ridiculous".

Closure

Speaking from last night's meet at Harold's Cross, Vice President of the DGOBA Jimmy O'Hanlon that the closure is unnecessary and caused by mismanagement at the IGB.

"It is absolutely ridiculous. The IGB have put themselves in this position by developing the track in Limerick and leaving themselves in debt. Now, we're losing our racing track," said Mr O'Hanlon.

"They have two tracks in Tipperary in Thurles and Clonmel.

"Surely if they have two tracks in Tipperary we can have two in Dublin. A lot of people are going to have to get out of the game now," he added.

The IGB has debts totalling €21m and yesterday their Chairman Phil Meaney told an Oireachtas agriculture committee that the stadium will go on the market at the end of next year. IGB revenues have fallen by 56pc since 2006 to €28.2m.

It was allocated €13.6m in last week's Budget but Mr Meaney said tough decisions would have to be made over the coming years and that the sale of assets was necessary for the good of the industry.

"The notion of poorly performing tracks having financial subsidy and support in perpetuity is gone," Mr Meaney said.

Forced

However, many trainers feel that they are now being forced out of the sport.

Trainer Liam O'Rourke said that Shelbourne Park is not an alternative for many trainers because of its status as Ireland's premier racetrack.

"Not every dog is able to race in Shelbourne Park. I am very disappointed. I race 90pc of my dogs in Harold's Cross and it will be a very big loss for me. It is a massive loss - the home of Dublin racing," said Mr O'Rourke.

hnews@herald.ie

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