Maureen O'Sullivan TD challenges massive grants to dying greyhound industry
02 February 2017
Maureen O'Sullivan TD has questioned the Minister for Agriculture about the government's massive funding of the greyhound industry, particularly in light of a huge 50 per cent drop in attendance at tracks as well as decreases in the number of race meetings and owners of racing greyhounds and a major 58 per cent fall in sponsorship - all signalling a rejection of greyhound racing by the Irish public.
Despite this, the government has handed over nearly a quarter of a billion euro of taxpayers' money to greyhound racing since 2001, including €16 million for 2017.
Responding to Deputy O'Sullivan's challenge, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Andrew Doyle TD pointed to employment in the industry as a justification for the funding. However, his figure of 10,000 jobs was dismissed as being at least seven years out of date. He also praised the industry for being "very export-orientated with over 75 per cent of greyhounds now running in the UK being Irish bred."
Despite acknowledging problems in the industry, Minister of State Doyle dismissed the idea of ending funding, saying "I think if we just simply say that because it's declining, we should pull the money on it, is contrary to most principles that if something is in need of assistance, we should continue to support it so that in time it can actually operate independently."
In relation to hare coursing, he said that he did not know the latest figures for the amount of money received by the Irish Coursing Club from the Irish Greyhound Board in terms of loans and payments. As pointed out by Deputy O'Sullivan, in 2015 it was revealed that the IGB had paid over €100,000 to the coursers (for DNA sampling services and advertising in its Sporting Press subsidiary).
Andrew Doyle attempted to suggest that animal welfare "is covered by legislation...which protects the welfare of all animals", citing the Animal Health and Protection Act. Sadly, he appears to be unaware that this legislation does not protect hares from suffering in coursing - it actually provides an exemption for coursing, without which those involved would be guilty of an offence of cruelty.
He went on to shamefully defend hare coursing as a tradition and suggested that those participating in the cruel activity shouldn't be judged.
"Coursing is, and has been, part of the tradition," he said. "It's not everybody's cup of tea but it is and has been [part of the tradition]. It's easy to sit up here and judge people. People up here are not always maybe doing things that are compatible with country life but I don't hear them quite so judgemental."
Questions about the publication of the Irish Greyhound Board's 2015 accounts and the issue of abandoned greyhounds went unanswered.
Thank you to Maureen O'Sullivan TD for highlighting the ongoing cruelty to hares in coursing and challenging the government on its unacceptable funding of the dying greyhound industry.
Don't attend greyhound races or community fund-raisers held at greyhound tracks (these are a significant source of funding for the cruel greyhound industry).
Greyhound racing should not be funded by the people of Ireland, the majority of whom have no interest in it and are rightly opposed to an industry in which dogs are injured, dumped and killed. Please join us in urging the government to stop wasting precious funds on this dying industry.
Minister for Finance
(Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, Minister of State Andrew Doyle)
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6764735
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Tweet to @EndaKennyTD
Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: +353 (0)1-661 1013.
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd
Tweet to @creedcnw
Andrew Doyle TD
Minister of State, Dept of Agriculture
Tweet to @ADoyleTD
Contact your TDs and urge them to stop using scarce public money to fund gambling industries. Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=32&disp=mem Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: +353 (0)1-618 3000 or 1890 337 889. Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.
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