Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 195 - Answered on 29th March, 2006

Tony Gregory: To ask the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on the increasing use of unauthorised drugs in the greyhound industry including most recently in the Irish Coursing Clubs premier event, the Irish Cup; the action he intends to take; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Ref No: 12448/06).

Question 196 - Answered on 29th March, 2006

Tony Gregory: To ask the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the type of unauthorised drugs being used to improve the performance of greyhounds in racing and coursing club events; and the type for which a greyhound (details supplied) recently tested positive. (Ref No: 12449/06).

Written replies.

Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (John O'Donoghue): I propose taking questions 195 and 196 together. I would like to reiterate my strong condemnation of the use of prohibited substances and methods in any form in sport.

Under the provisions of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, Bord na gCon is the statutory agency responsible for the promotion and development of greyhound racing in Ireland. The Act confers on Bord na gCon wide powers to regulate all aspects of greyhound racing, including integrity management and anti-doping controls.

Under Section 26 of the Act, the Irish Coursing Club is recognised as being the controlling authority for the breeding and coursing of greyhounds, subject to the provisions of the Act and of the constitution of the Club and subject to the general control and direction of Bord na gCon.

Responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the greyhound industry, including doping issues, lies with Bord na gCon and my Department has no role in such matters. Accordingly, the information sought by the Deputy is not available to the Department and he should, therefore address his request directly to Bord na gCon and the Irish Coursing Club.

The Deputy will be aware that on 31 January last I appointed Mr. Tim Dalton, former Secretary General of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, to carry out an independent assessment of issues relating to corporate governance in Bord na gCon as well as its management of positive tests for banned substances. One of the Terms of Reference of the Independent Investigation is:-

- To consider the way in which Bord na gCon procedures dealing with doping infringements are presently carried out, to comment on the adequacy of existing procedures and to advise whether there should be any changes or modifications put into effect.

I expect to receive Mr. Dalton's report shortly.

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