IGB staff workload weakened security

Pressure on staff after their colleagues were made redundant compromised security procedures ahead of three robberies at the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) headquarters in Limerick.

A confidential report into the crimes found cash management procedures were not followed before a gang first broke into the Greenpark facility on Jan 30, 2012, and stole €36,000 in cash and cheques.

The gang followed this up with two unsuccessful break-ins over the next two months.

During the January raid, the takings from five nights’ racing were lost. This was because money was not lodged in the bank and was left in a safe that was later dragged through a smashed window and into a wheelie bin.

An internal report found that procedures were not followed and said one of the people responsible for making cash safe had been under severe pressure.

He had been preparing the end-of-year accounts for three of the IGB’s subsidiary companies, taking on tasks previously done by three people.

He had been responsible for the Limerick track but was then asked to take over financial administration duties at the Cork track and the national sales centre in Thurles.

Previously, each of the nine IGB tracks had its own financial administrator, but due to a significant rationalisation within the company, work had been distributed.

The report said there had been warning signs evident after the completion of the 2011 accounts for the Cork track and these should have been acted on.

It said there was a failure on the company’s behalf to properly assess the workload of the personnel involved and the ability of the financial administrator to cope with the demands increased the risk.

It said the company had not acted on a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General in 2010 which highlighted problems in relation to cash handling at the old markets’ field.

The IGB has been under severe financial pressures in recent years after the construction of the Limerick facility left it with a heavy debt burden which it has been struggling to deal with.

In a bid to reduce its costs, it has significantly reduced staff with a redundancy programme. Between 2008 and 2010, its staff costs fell from €9.8m to €7.2m.

The company has allowed key staff members to leave on redundancy packages including its former head of legal affairs.

In a statement, the IGB said it would not discuss the report or the circumstances of the robbery.

“For operational, legal and security reasons Bord na gCon will not comment on a recent robbery at one of our stadia which is still under investigation by An Garda Siochána,” it said.

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