Greyhound advocacy group accuses government of hypocrisy over continued funding of greyhound racingPadraig Conlon 12 Oct 2023
Greyhound advocacy group, Greyhound Action Ireland (GAI), has described the allocation of €19 million to the greyhound industry in Budget 2024 “an obscene and unjustifiable waste of public money and an act of gross hypocrisy on the part of government politicians.”
The latest budget handout is up €.8m on last year’s allocation, and brings to €74m the amount of money the greyhound industry has received from the present government.
Since 2001, it has received €348m of tax payers’ money.
“Irish tax payers’ money is essentially being used to generate huge profits for the Irish and British betting industries,” said Ms. Nuala Donlon, spokesperson for Greyhound Action Ireland.
“The concern expressed by government politicians last week in response to the ESRI Report which highlighted the huge and growing problem of gambling addiction in this country is hypocritical in the extreme when you consider that in continuing to prop up the greyhound industry with this huge budgetary allocation, they are actually contributing to this very problem,” Ms, Donlon continued.
“Greyhound racing enjoys practically no support among the Irish public.
“Information supplied via a recent Dail question shows that in 2022, greyhound stadiums around this country were between 75 and 93 per cent empty.
“Its main raison d’être is to generate gambling product, and this is evidenced by the industry’s increasing reliance on the income generated from selling the rights to cover races to the Sports Information Service (SIS) streaming service, a British owned company which supplies betting services to betting companies around the world.
“The Irish greyhound industry is an economic basket case.
“The recently released Annual Report for 2022 shows that last year it had a pre-tax profit of just €1.08 million, a 63% drop on the previous year.
“The industry hasn’t delivered a dividend to the Irish state in over 25 years, nor is it likely to do so going forward. Simply put, greyhound racing couldn’t continue to exist without the huge tranche of tax payers’ money it gets every year.
“It should be noted as well, that this latest budgetary allocation was made despite the fact that Rasaiocht Con Eireann has not published its long-awaited strategic plan. The last one expired over a year ago. This absence of a strategic plan is clearly in breach of the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.
“The government is also, shamefully continuing to use tax payers’ money to support an activity which causes animal suffering and death on an industrial scale.
“Last year alone, 122 dogs were killed while racing on tracks around this country, while 287 were injured, some so badly they had to be killed subsequently.
“An estimated 4,000 plus dogs disappear every year because they are too slow to make it on to the track.
“Interestingly, TDs who own, or have a financial interest in a racing greyhound, do not have to declare this interest in the Register of Members Interests.
“This despite the fact that huge sums of tax payers ‘money are handed over by these self-same TDs to the greyhound industry every year. Ms. Donlon is calling for the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 to be amended to make the declaration of ownership of a racing greyhound mandatory.
“There is a very clear conflict of interest here. The Irish tax payer deserves to know if TDs who support the public funding of greyhound racing are likely to benefit from their actions in Dail Eireann,” said Ms. Donlon.
Greyhound Action Ireland says it renewing a previous call on the Green Party to pass the decoupling legislation necessary to end the automatic handover of public funding to the greyhound industry.