Greyhound board paid out €300k by mistake

The Irish Greyhound Board mistakenly paid out almost €300,000 in prize-money to people six months after they had already claimed their winnings.

The pool was shared among 1,632 greyhound owners and trainers who received the money through electronic funds transfer.

The IGB said it was working to recoup the sums involved. After more than 12 months of chasing, almost €50,000 was still outstanding.

The mistake happened when a computer file that instructed prizes to be paid out in Jun 2010 was used again to repeat the run in 2011.

“One bank payment file, containing a number of prize money payments, made previously in Jun 2010, was paid again on Jan 20, 2011,” the IGB said.

The incident happened in early 2011 but it has only come to light in its recently-published annual accounts for that year.

All of the people who got the repeat payments were written to immediately after the incident was discovered.

The company said it reported the matter to the Comptroller and Auditor General and computer company Dell had prepared a report on what went wrong.

According to IGB board minutes from 2011, the original figure for the overpayment was €330,000.

The board had been told that once all efforts to recoup funds had been exhausted, it expected to write off between €20,000 and €50,000.

In his comments about the board’s account, the C&AG noted the efforts by the IGB to address weaknesses which led to the overpayment and other problems.

The other issues related to its failure to follow procurement rules.

The incident was detailed in the 2011 annual accounts for the IGB, which were laid before the Oireachtas last week more than four months after Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said he had received them.

The financial statements further underscored the difficulties facing the semi-state company, as its debts rose to €22.7m. This was an increase on the previous year but it had fallen from a high of €24.7m which had been hit in the middle of 2011.

Its loans are on an interest-only basis until Dec 2016. However, in 2011, it paid over €800,000 in interest costs.

It was originally expected the loans would cost up to €5m a year to service.

The business cost €39m to run in 2011 but it only generated €31m in business. The €11m grant from taxpayers was needed to bridge the gap.


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