Saturday 19 August 2017

€23m stadium sale 'could be bail-out of quango'

Greyhound owners and trainers protesting at the Dáil over the closure of Harold’s Cross stadium. Photo: Tom Burke
Greyhound owners and trainers protesting at the Dáil over the closure of Harold’s Cross stadium. Photo: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

It's been claimed that the planned €23m sale of land at Harold's Cross greyhound stadium could amount to a "bail-out of a failed government-appointed quango".

The Department of Education plans to buy the stadium site from the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) to build schools.

TDs on the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have asked whether the planned deal could represent a "bail-out" of the organisation - which has debts of more than €18m.

They have also asked whether it offers value for taxpayers' money. The issue was raised as members of the greyhound organisation's board of directors appeared before the PAC. Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane conceded that while it may or may not be true or fair, "one narrative" of the planned deal is that it is a "Government bail-out of a failed government-appointed quango".

The IGB is under the remit of the Department of Agriculture.

Mr Cullinane argued that the valuation of the site "hits the bullseye" and asked the department's assistant secretary Brendan Gleeson if he could see how the planned sale wiping out the debt would "at least solicit questions" from the PAC.

Mr Gleeson said: "I don't think it has any validity because the valuation was one provided by the valuation office." He said queries about the valuation were "a question for that office".

The IGB released a statement earlier this week saying the €23m offer is "in line with the market valuation".

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News