With the future of Enniscorthy's Greyhound Track looking increasingly uncertain, members of Wexford County Council were unanimous in their support for what's regarded as an institution in the cathedral town.
A report carried out by Indecon Economic Consultants on behalf of the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) recommended that funding should be withdrawn from four tracks, one of them being Enniscorthy.
Cllr Aidan Browne asked that the members write to the Minister for Transport, Sport and Tourism, Shane Ross, to express their concerns over the future of the track, pointing out that it was one of the few profitable tracks in the country and had just seen a recent investment of €40,000 on kennel upgrades.
This received unanimous support from the members.
Chairperson of the Enniscorthy Municipal District Cllr Kathleen Codd Nolan said that three generations of her family had raced greyhounds at the track. 'Ninety years it's been there,' she said. 'In that time its had a huge economic and social impact on the district, the county and the south east as a whole.'
Cllr Codd Nolan then suggested that she and the County Chairman Cllr Michael Sheehan meet with the management of the track to see what they can do to save it, a move which also saw the unanimous support of the chamber.
A resident of the Ross Road where the track is situated, Cllr John O'Rourke pointed out that he had watched the comings and goings at the track his whole life.
'A lot of people will be affected by this,' he said. 'It seems to be the policy that an social activity that's happening down the country outside of Dublin is targeted. Action needs to be taken on this. We're in a situation now where people currently breeding dogs will have nowhere to bring them.
Cllr Cathal Byrne stated that there were 386 greyhound owners in Wexford, with 36 people working as trainers.
'This track is profitable,' he said.
'We need to bring these concerns back up the ladder. Common sense has to prevail here.'
Cllr Jim Codd described it as a 'further erosion of rural life'. He said greyhound racing was 'engrained in the people of Wexford' and that it should be 'preserved at all costs'.
While online there had been some dissenting voices speaking out against greyhound racing from an animal welfare point of view, the councillors were in unanimous agreement that the track needed to be preserved from a tourism, social and economic point of view.
It was agreed to write to the management of the track and the Minister to seek a meeting.