A highly controversial move by the government saw them allocating €19m to the greyhound racing industry in Budget 2024, a move which Greyhound Action Ireland (GAI) have branded “an obscene and unjustifiable waste of public money and an act of gross hypocrisy on the part of government politicians.”
The latest budget allocation is up €.8 on last year, and brings to €74m the amount of money the greyhound industry has received from the present government.
Since 2001, it has received €348m of tax payers’ money.
“Irish tax payers’ money is essentially being used to generate huge profits for the Irish and British betting industries,” said Ms. Nuala Donlon, spokesperson for Greyhound Action Ireland
“The concern expressed by government politicians last week in response to the ESRI Report which highlighted the huge and growing problem of gambling addiction in this country is hypocritical in the extreme when you consider that in continuing to prop up the greyhound industry with this huge budgetary allocation, they are actually contributing to this very problem.”
Despite the large support from government, Greyhound Racing is seemingly unpopular in Ireland, with a recent study showing that greyhound stadiums around the country were often between 75% to 93% empty.
The GAI say that the main purpose of greyhound racing in Ireland is simply to “generate gambling product”, with the industry increasingly relying on selling the rights to races to the Sports Information Service (SIS) streaming service, a British-owned company which supplies betting services to betting companies all around the world.
A recently released Annual Report for 2022 shows that last year the industry had a pre-tax profit of just €1.08 million, a 63% drop on the previous year. According to the GAI, the greyhound industry hasn’t delivered a dividend to the Irish state in over 25 years.
Essentially, the entire industry rests on the shoulders of the tax-payer.
The GAI said “The government is also, shamefully continuing to use tax payers’ money to support an activity which causes animal suffering and death on an industrial scale.”
Last year, 122 dogs were killed while racing on tracks around the country, while 287 were injured so badly that they had to be put down. An estimated 4,000 + dogs disappear every year because they are too slow to make it on the track.
“There is a very clear conflict of interest here. The Irish tax payer deserves to know if TDs who support the public funding of greyhound racing are likely to benefit from their actions in Dail Eireann,” said Ms. Donlon.
Greyhound Action Ireland is renewing a previous call on the Green Party to pass the decoupling legislation necessary to end the automatic handover of public funding to the greyhound industry.