Government under fire for increasing funds for 'cruel' greyhound industry

Government under fire for increasing funds for 'cruel' greyhound industry

Social Democrat TD for Cork South West Holly Cairns said that it was unconscionable that the Government would fund the sport. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Government has been accused of supporting a "cruel, dying industry" by increasing funding to greyhound racing to €19.2m for 2021.

The increase was passed without debate in the Dáil on Tuesday and will go before the Agriculture Committee next week, but Social Democrat TD for Cork South West Holly Cairns said that it was unconscionable that the Government would fund the sport.

Ms Cairns said that with attendances and public support in decline, the only reason that greyhound racing exists is due to lobbying and convention.

"We know that this is a loss-making industry, attendance our greyhound racing tracks fell by 55% between 2008 and 2018.

"The combined loss for tracks between 2019 and 2022 is predicted to be €30m. We know from a RedC poll done in 2019 that only 16% of the Irish population agree that the Government should continue to fund greyhound racing, 18% don't know, and 66% disagree.

The overarching appalling standards of care and the loss-making nature of the industry make the Government support for it scandalous."

Ms Cairns said that while she was on Cork County Council, she was the only councillor to object to a motion supporting Youghal racetrack.

She said that while Dublin Zoo, disability services and domestic refuges are all in need of additional funding, greyhound racing made little sense.

"We have 49% of the domestic violence refuge spaces we should have, disability day services are underfunded, even Dublin Zoo – and zoos can be problematic at times – would make far more sense than supporting a cruel, dying industry."


Meanwhile, a rebranding of the greyhound board in Ireland ended up costing almost €75,000 as the organisation grappled with “reputational issues” for the sport.

Bord na gCon changed its name to Rásaíocht Con Éireann (Greyhound Racing Ireland) this year as part of a “brand transformation”.

Records released under Freedom of Information show how the rebranding exercise cost €64,000, excluding VAT, to cover “research, proposition development, and creative design”.

The Government has been accused of supporting a "cruel, dying industry".

The Government has been accused of supporting a "cruel, dying industry".

A further €10,187 was spent on work required to computer systems including changes to its website and other computer infrastructure.

The project had originally been planned in late 2017 when a marketing agency was asked to come up with a brand transformation plan for Bord na gCon.

A design brief said: “As part of a planning process . . . we identified the key role the greyhound racing brand could play in addressing the reputational issues of the organisation.”

The transformation plan was originally timed to take between three and four months but ended up being phased in over a longer period and including the later name change.

Greyhound Racing Ireland said while the total cost of the project was almost €75,000, other works, including promotional activities were done in-house by their own marketing and computer teams.

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