There have been calls for immediate answers to be given on the Irish Greyhound Board’s future following an independent consultants’ report that said it needs to sell tracks to stay in business.
On Monday, the Indecon report to minister of state Tom Hayes said the IGB had fallen short of the first year targets in its five-year plan that was supposed to see it pay down its €22m debt burden.
In the Seanad, Denis Landy said there were serious questions about the finances and the regulation at the semi-state company. It was estimated 10,000 people relied on the sector for employment so the issues needed urgent debate, Mr Landy said.
“All of these issues will have to be addressed in the coming months if Bord na gCon as an entity is to survive into the future.
“More worrying from the point of view of breeders and dog owners are the difficulties, highlighted in great detail in the report, surrounding dope testing and the penalties that are currently in place, which are inadequate to deal with the crime.”
The problems were also discussed at the Oireachtas sub committee on agriculture.
The IGB’s original survival strategy had been reliant on generating new revenue streams by signing new contracts that would allow Irish races to be beamed into international betting shops and online portals.
Last November, the IGB said there were 30 new contracts under negotiation which would help boost its revenues and six of these were already signed.
The Public Accounts Committee was told these contracts would generate an additional €1.5m in annual revenues.
In a statement, the company said since the PAC meeting, nine of the remaining 24 contracts had been signed. “The IGB have concluded 15 contracts to date with more in the pipeline. These contracts are being advanced by the IGB team,” it said.
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