Greyhound fans plead: Don't sell Harold's Cross
Published 11/07/2014 | 09:01
HISTORIC Harold's Cross is the 'Dublin man's greyhound track' and its patrons won't allow it to be sold without a "fight to the bitter end".
The sale of the stadium was suggested this week as a possible move to combat greyhound authority Bord na gCon's debt of about €21m.
The sale was suggested as part of a review prepared by government-appointed consultants Indecon who looked into the Bord's governance and finances.
A Bord na gCon spokesman said it would not be commenting on any specific recommendations in the review.
Meanwhile, trainers and punters at the track branded the idea a "disgrace".
Dublin Greyhound Owner and Breeders Association chairman Michael O'Reilly told the Herald: "While we have a breath in our bodies Harold's Cross won't close. We will not let it happen, we will fight to the bitter end."
Harold's Cross is somewhere that small scale owners and trainers can run dogs that wouldn't be capable of running anywhere else.
Liam O'Rourke, who owns 35 racing dogs, said that the facility's closure would push him into retirement.
"I've been coming here since 1968. I don't feel I have the dogs to go to Shelbourne Park, the competition is stiffer there. Harold's Cross has always been the Dublin man's track," he said.
Trainer Wayne Leonard said: "I feel if it goes the whole industry will be on its last legs."
Monica Skelly (83) said: "All the Dubs come to this track. I've been coming to dog racing for 80 years. Where would we go if they close it?"
Tallaght man Lar Dolan said: "There are generations of families coming here. It has such a strong tradition in Dublin. It's the working class man's track. People come here to enjoy themselves and have a bit of fun. You see the same faces all the time. It would be such a shame to see it go."
It isn't a matter of just closing one Dublin track said Ed Carroll a punter from Foxrock.
"They say there are two Dub tracks but there aren't. This is the Dublin track, Shelbourne is a national stadium," he said.