The Irish Greyhound Board has expressed “regret” at the decision to cease funding for their stadia in Enniscorthy, Lifford, Longford, and Youghal.
According to sources, all four tracks are set to close in 2020.
The decision follows an independent report undertaken by Indecon Economic Consultants, which reviewed the future needs of its 16 licensed stadia under the IGB remit.
The recommendations of that report have been accepted by the Board of the IGB.
A fully independent, systematic review into the sustainability of individual stadia and the wider industry footprint formed a key element of the IGB’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022.
The brief for the study included the assessment of infrastructure and services available at all 16 licensed greyhound stadia in Ireland; an assessment of financial sustainability at each track; analysis of population catchments and motorway access; and detailed recommendations regarding individual stadia.
The report has recommended a restructuring of the footprint of the greyhound sector; ongoing cost efficiency measures; targeted investment in animal welfare, marketing & infrastructure; and the ceasing of funding for Enniscorthy, Lifford, Longford and Youghal.
An IGB spokesperson said: “The four tracks concerned have each contributed significantly to the Irish greyhound industry over a long number of years. Each track has been in operation for over half a century, with each one having a unique history, culture and tradition. The IGB very much regrets the decision to cease funding at these stadia and its impact on staff, owners and the wider greyhound community but is keenly aware of the challenges that Indecon Economic Consultants have identified for the industry.”
Irish Greyhound Board CEO Gerard Dollard said: “This review, which forms part of the IGB’s five year strategic plan, will progress the industry’s footprint for the future. The greyhound industry, like many other industries, has to change and adapt to maintain viability for future generations. The report that has been published today, and which has been accepted by the Board of the IGB gives a road map to underpin a viable long term sustainable industry for people to participate in and enjoy. I acknowledge that the report will make difficult reading for the passionate greyhound community, particularly those who are employed in, race greyhounds or attend greyhound racing in any of the stadia where the cessation of funding is recommended.
“It is important that members of the public, both inside and outside of the industry, have a chance to assess the outcome of the independent study and express their views before the recommendations are implemented.”