Greyhound chiefs told their industry would be 'goosed' without €16m in State funds
Irish greyhound racing would be "goosed" without the €16.8m it is getting from the State and the funding "sticks in the craw" of many people, the industry's top executives have been told.
Senior management of the controversy-hit Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) were grilled by the Dáil's spending watchdog on its finances after a TV programme that exposed poor practice and mistreatment of dogs. IGB CEO Gerard Dollard insisted animal welfare was a priority while conceding that attendances at greyhound races were down 20pc since the RTÉ broadcast.
Fianna Fáil's Shane Cassells raised the issue of the €16.8m in State funding given to the industry.
He said "funding of the dogs sticks in the craw of many people" when there are "poor unfortunates who have been told there is no money for home help".
He told the IGB representatives "you'd be goosed" without the State support. He said average attendances at race meetings were 319 in 2018. The Meath West TD added: "There'd be more people at a cricket match in Malahide and the Irish Cricket Union does not get the colour of €16.8m."
Mr Cassells asked Mr Dollard if he believes State funding for the IGB should be reappraised.
Mr Dollard said that's a question for the Government. He defended what he described as a "significant industry" that adds value to the economy and 12,371 people depend on for their livelihoods.