Friday 23 August 2019

Gardai investigating alleged assaults on man and woman during animal rights protest at Shelbourne Park

Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium.
Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium.

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Gardaí are investigating two assaults which allegedly occurred during an animal rights protest at Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium on Saturday.

A garda spokesperson said they are investigating allegations that a woman in her 30s was assaulted by a man at the greyhound stadium. They are also looking into an alleged assault on a man in his 50s.

Neither suffered serious injuries, nor did they require hospital treatment.

The protesters had gathered outside of the stadium as the weekly Saturday racing took place. The demonstration was part of an ongoing protest by animal rights activists against the sport, which has become controversial since an RTÉ Investigates programme focused on the mistreatment on animals in the sport.

A Garda spokesperson told that the alleged assaults will be investigated.

“Following a demonstration in the South Lotts Road area of Dublin 4, that took place on the evening of July 20, Gardaí received reports of two minor assault incidents,” they said.

“Gardaí received reports of an alleged assault on a man in his 50s. The man alleges that he received a punch. Gardaí also received reports of an alleged assault on a woman in her 30s. It is reported that this woman was assaulted by a male.

“No visible injuries and no hospital treatment were required but investigations are ongoing.”

The protest and alleged assaults come in the same week that the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) confirmed it is ending its long-term relationship with the Rose of Tralee, after organisers and participants of the festival received online threats.

A statement, on behalf of the IGB and the Kingdom Greyhound Stadium, where promotional shoots are usually taken prior to the event, says that the usual sponsors regret their decision.

“The decision was taken following much engagement and consultation with festival organisers,” it says.

“Many festival ambassadors, including the Roses themselves, have been the subject of malicious online threats in recent weeks which the Rose of Tralee Festival and the IGB find totally unacceptable. The IGB respects the right to protest but this must be done in a peaceful manner, including in online fora and on social media.

“The IGB and Kingdom Greyhound Stadium regret this decision and wish the Rose of Tralee and all associated with the event the very best of luck with this year's festival.”

The online abuse comes as protesters have called for a boycott of all sponsors and a stop to greyhound racing in Ireland since the RTE programme aired.

A number of sponsors have already ended their relationship with the group, including Barry’s Tea and FBD Insurance.

A government review is set to examine funding for the IGB, which currently receives €16 million in State support every year.

Sports Minister Shane Ross has called for resignations within the greyhound board, which has promised to reform the industry.

Mr Ross said that the board was guilty of not acting earlier to ensure the safety of the animals involved.

Since the RTE investigation was aired, the greyhound board set up a confidential phone line where animal welfare concerns can be reported.

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