Thursday 15 November 2018

Harold’s Cross Greyhound Stadium to be sold

Harold’s Cross Greyhound Stadium to be sold
Harold’s Cross Greyhound Stadium to be sold

Aideen Sheehan

HAROLD’S Cross greyhound stadium is to be sold, a Dail committee was told today.

The debt-laden Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) said it had a serious financial situation and could not keep funding tracks which were not giving a return on its money.

Board chairman Phil Meaney announced the decision at an Oireachtas agriculture committee today outlining how the IGB plans to increase revenue and reduce its €21m in debt in coming years by the “the sweating of assets and the sale of assets”.

The stadium will go on the market at the end of next year.

The closure of Harold’s Cross stadium is sure to provoke bitter opposition from greyhound racing fans.

Mr Meaney said that many of the decisions to be taken over coming years would be difficult for stakeholders to accept, but they would have to accept decisions were based on the good of the industry as a whole.

“The notion of poorly performing tracks having financial subsidy and support in perpetuity is gone. Individual stadia will have to stand on their own two feet and be able to demonstrate a capacity to perform under certain headings,” said Mr Meaney.

“There is likely to be rationalisation of tracks over a period and Harold Cross will be sold at the appropriate time,” he said.

IGB chief executive Geraldine Larkin said that buildings in Limerick, and  land in Cork and Limerick would also be sold in an orderly way to maximise commercial return.

“The Irish Greyhound Board cannot keep funding tracks which are not giving a return on money spent. Any decision on future funding will take into account the multiplicity of factors impacting on a stadium’s performance,” she said.

The IGB was giving its response to a report by Indecon consultants published in July highlighting the “significant challenges” facing the IGB and steps needed to get its finances back on track.

It found that IGB revenues had fallen by 56pc since 2006 to €28.2m last year and it had debts of €21m and a pension deficit of €6.8m.

The IGB was allocated €13.6m in state funding in last week’s Budget.

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