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DCC votes to ask Government to stop greyhound funding

Dublin City Councillors have voted to pass a motion calling for the Government to cut all funding to the greyhound industry.

Tabled by Independent councillor, Noeleen Reilly, the motion was passed after a Sinn Fein amendment called for the funding to be retained while a review was launched of the industry was defeated.

The Government is providing €19.2m in funding to the greyhound industry for 2021.

Reilly said in her statement that she put forward this motion a couple of years ago after the “horrific” RTE Investigates programme which portrayed the “animal abuse” that occurs within the industry.

The motion read: “That Dublin City Council calls on the Government to immediately remove funding of €19.2m to the greyhound industry and calls for a complete ban on racing.
“6,000 Dogs are killed inhumanly every year in Ireland as well as many more who suffer horrific abuse.

“In no way should this practice be tolerated and certainly not at the expense of taxpayers.”
Reilly said that that the industry is “propped up by the Irish taxpayer” and without the funding, the “industry wouldn’t exist.”

Reilly cited a Red C poll which says that two thirds of Irish people want funding to the industry cut.

“There has been no improvement in standards for years,” says Reilly and that giving the industry such “a large amount of money is criminal,” she says.

Fianna Fail councillor Deirdre Heney said that “we as a society don’t seem to value animal welfare enough.”

She said that the killing of 6,000 dogs a year is “unacceptable.”

Late last year, chief executive officer of Greyhound Racing Ireland Gerard Dollard said that the industry was committed to improving standards.

He said: “There’s rogue people in every industry, but we are intent in Greyhound Racing Ireland in rooting out the rogues.

“And I think if anybody looks at our record in terms of High Court cases, Court of Appeal cases, issuing of exclusion orders, issuing of welfare notices we will tackle welfare.

“We set up a confidential phone line about a year ago – to date we’ve had about 200 calls, and not one single significant welfare issue has been identified”.

Dollard said that “greyhound racing is a legitimate industry.”

“It’s run by a semi-state body – in Greyhound Racing Ireland – it’s governed by brand new legislation, the Greyhound Racing Act of 2019, it has the Welfare of Greyhounds Act of 2011, it has the Animal Health and Welfare Act – so it is a very highly-regulated industry,” he said.

Reilly told Dublin People that she was “delighted” the motion passed “so strongly” among councillors.

A recent motion brought before the Dail by the Social Democrats to cut centralised funding was shot down by the Government and some opposition members.

Reilly says that with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael councillors voting for her motion, it “sends a clear message to the Government.”

“The largest local authority in the state voted overwhelming to cut funding,” she said.
“There are some strong TDs in the Dail and we hope that they will bring forward the issue.”

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