Dog chat: Proposed Gormley Bill has industry on alert
The greyhound industry is involved in a major battle to ensure that greyhounds are not included in the proposed Dog Breeding Establishments Bill, which is currently being debated.
The new Bill, which is being run by Environment Minister John Gormley, would have disastrous results for the greyhound industry. It would usher in a regime of over-regulation and crippling fees which could send many breeders, owners and trainers out of the business.
The greyhound industry has been governed by the strict 1958 Greyhound Industry Act and there is no reason for any change to this system.
The Irish Greyhound Board met up with the Fine Gael and Labour parliamentary parties last week and have been pledged solid support, and they are due to meet Fianna Fail today. Hopefully, a meeting will take place with the Greens in the near future to ensure the removal of greyhounds from the Bill, which was intended to govern the controversial 'Puppy Farms'.
On the track this week, the focus will again be on the Tote Gold Cup which got off to such a sensational start at Shelbourne on Saturday. We are blessed with some marvellous canine talent this year and hopefully the stars will help the industry to beat the current recession.
A race to look forward to on Saturday is the opening heat where the punters will be tested to the limit. Four of the eight first-round heat winners will be there, including the two fastest, Thurlesbeg Joker and Fatboyz Nodrog. Of the non-winners, we can anticipate an improved effort from Derby runner-up Oran Classic.
Greyhound racing in this country doesn't fare too well as far as live TV is concerned and it looks as though there will only be three live meetings this year, all on RTE2. But new ground will be broken on Thursday when BBC2 Northern Ireland transmit a live hour of racing from Drumbo Park. Hopefully this breakthrough can be the first of many such programmes.
Finally, there is a very important date for greyhound folk at Limerick on Sunday lunchtime when the Greyhounds of the Year will be crowned at the national awards gala in the Strand Hotel. It is a lunchtime function and tickets are still available from the IGB Sales Centre 1890 269 969.