Greyhound Board ‘must explain’ spending breaches

Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness has warned the Irish Greyhound Board it will have to explain why it broke spending rules.

The cash-strapped semi-state company will appear before the Dáil committee today to answer for a number of issues surrounding its finances and its corporate governance.

Mr McGuinness said the recent annual accounts had revealed the company had not followed the rules, butit would require details on how and why this happened.

“There were a number of instances in 2011 where proper procurement procedures had not been complied with.

“The committee will be keen to establish the reasons for this as well as the value of the contacts involved. Bord na gCon conducted a review process and so the outcome of the review will be of interest,” he said.

A statement from the committee noted that the IGB had bank borrowings in excess of €22.7m and had mortgaged six tracks to secure this loan.

However, it said the committee had to tease out what the long-term viability of the company was.

The IGB’s debt problems escalated after it entered into an unwritten, gentleman’s agreement to underpin the purchase and development of land for its new stadium in Limerick.

This agreement collapsed and has left the firm with unexpected multimillion- euro bills.

This has been compounded by the collapse of the property market, that has left it unable to sell two key sites, and increasingly poor attendance figures at some tracks — in particular Limerick and Waterford.

In a statement last year, the IGB accepted the existence of the gentleman’s agreement, but at the time claimed all public procurement rules had been followed.

Today’s meeting can be viewed online from 10am.


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