Monday 18 December 2017

Harold's Cross dispute set for mediation

Harold's Cross Greyhound Stadium. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Harold's Cross Greyhound Stadium. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

The impasse over the Harold's Cross closure took a new direction yesterday when former major political figures Brian Cowen and Ivan Yates recommended the involvement of Kieran Mulvey as mediator in an effort to bring the dispute to an end.

All sides welcomed the suggestion and it is hoped that mediation talks can commence as soon as possible.

In a joint statement, former Taoiseach Cowen and former Minister for Agriculture Yates said: "We have watched the standoff between DGOBA and the Board with increasing concern in recent weeks. As people who have an interest in the well-being of the industry and understand its value, we are worried that the current dispute could inflict very serious damage on all industry stakeholders, including owners, trainers as well as the Board's employees.

"As a matter of urgency, we appeal to both sides to sit down under the chairmanship of Kieran Mulvey to try to break the impasse. If there is goodwill on both sides, we believe that this can be achieved so that racing can be restarted in Dublin for the benefit of everyone involved in the industry."

Both IGB Interim CEO Sean Brady and Dublin GOBA's Jimmy O'Hanlon welcomed the suggestion.

Dr Brady said: "The Irish Greyhound Board notes the concerns expressed by Brian Cowen and Ivan Yates and appreciates their interest. The Board is extremely anxious to resolve the current difficulties and are willing to participate in discussions with the Dublin Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association, under the chairmanship of Kieran Mulvey, as suggested."

O'Hanlon, chairman of the DGOBA, said: "We will definitely turn up. It is a worrying situation for the industry the way it is going. But we are firm in our stance and we want to see racing at Harold's Cross."

The entire greyhound industry lives in hope that Mulvey can resolve the impasse as the Irish greyhound industry simply cannot afford the continued closure of Shelbourne Park which is the acknowledged "cash cow" for the sport.

Meanwhile, there are five Irish-trained entries for the Calne Arc at Swindon on Saturday with Graham Holland having three in the draw, while Peter Cronin has two in action.

Cronin certainly didn't have the luck of the draw with his Swithin Brae and Ela Alecko in traps two and three in Heat 3 while Holland's big early pacer Proud Graham will wear the red. The other two runners are Holland's Riverside Oscar and Garryvoe Bobby, which appear to be well-treated by the draw.

Irish Independent

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