Harold's Cross Stadium closes with immediate effect

The Irish Greyhound Board has announced the closure of Harold's Cross Stadium with immediate effect.

The site will be sold to recoup its asset value, with the weekly programme at nearby Shelbourne Park expanded.

The IGB have taken the decision to close Harold's Cross due to the debt incurred with the building of the Limerick Stadium, which was completed in 2011.

April would have marked the 89th anniversary of the stadium's opening.

Interim CEO of the IGB Dr Sean Brady said he “regretted that this unavoidable action has to be implemented at this time but the sale of Harold’s Cross is absolutely essential in order to address the enormous debt IGB faces.

“However, it is necessary to preserve the greyhound industry and begin a process of recovery. This will see change and an improvement in how IGB operates and performs which will become more evident in the years ahead.

“We are committed to making Shelbourne Park perform excellently for all Trainers, Owners, Patrons and Staff, especially for those for whom Harolds Cross was their greyhound home.

“This will be challenging for all of us but there is a need for all stakeholders to leave aside disagreement and work together through a process of change and opportunity from which improved performance can be extracted.”

Harold's Cross Village Community Council has said it regrets the decision to close the "iconic" stadium, saying it was "an integral part of the fabric of the village since 1928".

The community spokesperson, Paula Russell, said: "The buzz and business activity generated in the village every Tuesday and Friday will be sorely missed. The community is saddened that the progress made in building a stronger more vibrant community in recent years should be jeopardised by this sudden closure.

"The Community Council also notes its deep disappointment that the Irish Greyhound Board seem intent in selling this iconic site to the highest bidder with no regard to the impact on the local community."

They have called on the Government to consult with people from the village before the site is sold.

They said: "In terms of future use, the Community Council believes that the site would be an ideal location for a much needed post-primary school for the area. Harold's Cross has three excellent primary schools but no post-primary school.

"It is very centrally located within the catchment area for the approved school, a large population within a short walk of the site and well served by public transport. The fact that it is already in public ownership and appropriately zoned should make this objective considerably easier to achieve."

They highlighted the fact that there are "over 1,000 apartments and houses" being built or planned for the area which means they need more amenities to serve its growing population,"not another dense apartment development".

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