GREYHOUND supporters in Cork county are in shock after the Irish Greyhound Board revealed tracks at Enniscorthy, Lifford, Longford and Youghal are all set to close.
An in-depth review of the Irish greyhound industry has recommended the closure of four tracks next year. Tracks at Lifford, Donegal, Longford, Enniscorthy and Youghal are recommended for closure in the review by economic consultants Indecon, most likely during 2020.
Indecon found that the long-term sustainability of the sport would be aided by the closure of the tracks, enabling the IGB to focus its resources more effectively.
It will come as a major shock to supporters of Youghal track when you consider the track was racing two nights a week on the SIS racing program. SIS provides an income to the track to stream the racing worldwide.
It could mean extra nights at Curraheen Park, which currently hosts races on Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays.
Youghal was running on Mondays and Fridays in recent months.
In the statement, the IGB said: "The four tracks concerned have each contributed significantly to the Irish greyhound industry over a long number of years. Each track has been in operation for over half a century, with each one having a unique history, culture and tradition.
"The IGB very much regrets the decision to cease funding at these stadia and its impact on staff, owners and the wider greyhound community but is keenly aware of the challenges that Indecon Economic Consultants have identified for the industry."
CEO of the Irish Greyhound Board, Gerard Dollard, commented: “This review, which forms part of the IGB’s five-year strategic plan, will progress the industry’s footprint for the future. The greyhound industry, like many other industries, has to change and adapt to maintain viability for future generations. The report that has been published today, and which has been accepted by the Board of the IGB gives a road map to underpin a viable long term sustainable industry for people to participate in and enjoy.
"I acknowledge that the report will make difficult reading for the passionate greyhound community, particularly those who are employed in, race greyhounds or attend greyhound racing in any of the stadia where the cessation of funding is recommended.
"It is important that members of the public, both inside and outside of the industry, have a chance to assess the outcome of the independent study and express their views before the recommendations are implemented.”
The IGB is inviting submissions regarding the report’s recommendations and their implementation up to January 10, 2020.