Board hits back over no-confidence vote
The Irish Greyhound Board issued a hard-hitting response yesterday to the vote of no confidence which was passed at Sunday night's DGOBA-organised meeting at Horse and Jockey.
In the statement, the IGB said that the utterings from the protestors reflect "a very poor grasp of the reality of the challenges the industry faces and offers no credible pathway towards their resolution".
It is pointed out in the statement that the disruption of racing has already cost owners and trainers €200,000 in prize-money and threatens the continued employment of full-time and part-time staff at Shelbourne Park.
The Board also point out that they inherited a legacy debt which now stands at €20.3m "but this debt cannot be wished away".
It points out that the Indecon Report was initially universally welcomed when commissioned by Simon Coveney but that when the report recommended the sale of Harold's Cross Stadium it was a very different story.
The IGB point out the huge debt which existed in 2005 and compares the net operating surplus at the height of the Celtic Tiger compared with the projected surplus for 2016.
They point out that "the ambition for Shelbourne Park is to have an outstanding venue for owners, trainers, patrons, sponsors, the corporate and tourist markets and our staff. That will require investment and the goodwill of all involved in the industry nationally but particularly in Dublin.
"IGB's capacity to increase prize money, to invest in track infrastructure, to grow ownership and the dog pool, depends on having capital to work with. The only viable way to achieve that is to pay down debt and to improve commercial performance."
In conclusion, the IGB appealed to the DGOBA to "again enter discussions under the independent chairmanship of Kieran Mulvey to resolve the issues dividing us, for the good of the Irish Greyhound industry as a whole".
On the racing side of things, the first Thursday meeting of the year will be staged at Curraheen Park this evening (7.50). By the way, entries close on Monday and Tuesday for the Raced and Unraced Stakes resulting from the National Sale. The Raced Dogs Stake will commence on Friday next and the Unraced on Saturday. The winners of each will receive €4,000, while there will also be a €1,000 Consolation event for dogs beaten in both stakes.