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Letters: Threat to greyhound racing

Sir, I wish to refer to recent speculation regarding a possible cut in funding to the Horse and racing Fund, which would have devastating consequences for greyhound racing.

There is already a drop of nine per cent in the Horse and Greyhound racing Fund in 2009, which resulted in a €2m rationalisation programme by the Irish Greyhound Board. It is important to point out that up to 11,000 full and part time jobs and over €500 million of economic activity is generated through greyhound racing in Ireland. Greyhound racing now supports more jobs than exist at any single multinational company based in Ireland at the moment.

In addition up to €7million was raised by greyhound stadiums last year which was critical funding for local charitiy and sporting organisations.

In addition to the above the Irish Greyhound Board is one of the most progressive semi state organisations in the state and in 2008 alone over 13,000 French holidaymakers came to our greyhound stadiums in conjunction with Failte Ireland.

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Already, plans for 2009 are being rolled out to include visitors from Spain, Italy, South Africa and Scandanavia. In addition €500,000 was generated in betting revenue from Sweden and the new IGB portal for live betting at its main stadiums will ensure that this market is again rolled out to bigger markets such as the UK and France.

This progressive industry is critical to sustain economic activity in rural communities troughout Ireland at present.