Agriculture Minister won't say how much of greyhound track loan repaid
28 June 2017
The Minister for Agriculture has refused to say how much of a massive interest-free loan has been paid back by Clonmel greyhound track.
Minister Michael Creed cited "commercial sensitivity" in reply to a Dail question from Dublin Fingal politician Clare Daly TD who asked him to confirm the size of the loan and the amount paid back to-date.
The Sunday Business Post reported in 2015 that the amount handed over by the taxpayer-funded Irish Greyhound Board to the private company which operates the "loss-making greyhound track" in Clonmel was €250,000.
As highlighted by ICABS earlier this month, the Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders federation revealed that "Clonmel greyhound track is in serious trouble" and that the "track supporters club is being asked to pay wages and fuel for tractor".
Defending the loan to Clonmel greyhound track, Minister Creed stated that the Irish Greyhound Board "is specifically empowered under Section 16(1) of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, to provide loans for the 'improvement of greyhound race tracks, authorised coursing grounds and the amenities thereof' and for any other purpose conducive to the improvement and development of the industry."
The Irish greyhound industry is currently getting over €300,000 of taxpayers' money EVERY WEEK as part of its €16 million government grant for 2017. Since 2001, it has received around €250 million of scarce public funds.
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Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry
DAIL QUESTION 1617
Answered on 20th June 2017
Clare Daly TD: (Dublin Fingal, Independents 4 Change) To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the action taken regarding the Irish Greyhound Board issuing an interest free loan to the private operators of a racetrack (details supplied); the amount loaned; the amount paid back to date in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael): Bord na gCon (Irish Greyhound Board) has statutory responsibility under the Greyhound Industry Acts 1958 and 1993 for the control, development and improvement of the greyhound racing industry.
The issue to which the Deputy refers is an operational matter for Bord na gCon. That organisation is specifically empowered under Section 16(1) of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, to provide loans for the 'improvement of greyhound race tracks, authorised coursing grounds and the amenities thereof' and for 'any other purpose conducive to the improvement and development of the industry.
I am informed by Bord na gCon that financial support in the form of a trading facility was made available to Davis Road Greyhound Stadium plc (DRGS) to assist the management of DRGS in finalising the project towards the construction of a new grand stand along with improvement of racing facilities including adherence to Health and Safety standards. DRGS is a private trading company with transactions between this company and Bord na gCon being subject to matters of commercial sensitivity.
Clonmel has a long established tradition of hosting racing on a Sunday night which is a very valuable asset to the Greyhound industry in light of the plans for the further commercialisation of Irish Greyhound Racing. Additionally Clonmel has a reputation of breeding top quality greyhounds therefore it was deemed appropriate to support the wider industry in this area.
The facility referred to is part of the continuing trading relationship between Bord na gCon and DRGS with all commitments being honoured in full to date by DRGS.
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