Senator Brian O’Domhnaill asks that dogs that are banned in England be automatically banned in Ireland, something that all genuine greyhound owners would be in favour of.  Typically Senator Butler tries to muddy the water.

Seanad Eireann 23/10/2018

On greyhounds that are banned in another jurisdiction, section 21(1) states: “The Board may, after consultation with the Minister, make regulations for the use, management and control of greyhound race tracks”. Under section 21(2)(n), it provides that it may prohibit “the entry to a greyhound race in the State of a greyhound the subject of a sanction of a foreign greyhound racing jurisdiction”. That provision is fine and correct but a full stop should follow the word “jurisdiction”. Instead, the paragraph continues: “or where agreement has been reached with the other greyhound racing jurisdiction”. Let us say a greyhound that raced in England is found to have been banned because illegal substances had been administered. Under this provision, the board has the discretion to allow such a dog to race here. That is wrong and I ask the Minister of State to reflect on section 21(2)(n) and insert a full stop after the first instance of the words “racing jurisdiction”. Any dog banned for illegal substance abuse in another jurisdiction should be banned here until such time as the process has been concluded. There should be no grey area around the use of drugs in the industry, particularly class A drugs. This is one of the recurring themes that emerges from greyhound owners and breeders. They are the ordinary people in the industry, not those who sit on the board or those who benefit from the financial rewards generated by the greyhound fund. Ordinary punters have serious concerns about this issue. There should be no misconception or grey area. It should be spelled out in black and white, which means we should abide by the outcome of any drug test done in another jurisdiction until such time as the process has concluded. If a dog is found to have a class A drug such as cocaine in its system after, let us say, a race in Manchester on a Saturday night, under no circumstances should it be allowed to race in Clonmel the following Tuesday. That would be wrong and there should be no grey area around doping.

I support Senator Ó Domhnaill. It seems to be perfectly obvious that if a dog has been subjected to a doping test in England and the owner has been convicted of doping, it would be extraordinary that the dog would not be banned from racing at an Irish racecourse. A ban would be absolutely obvious so I completely agree with the Senator. I hope the Minister of State will take his point on board and, if not, I hope Senator Ó Domhnaill will table an amendment on Report Stage, which I will strongly support.

We all have no problem with dogs in other jurisdictions being banned from racing if they have been found to have drugs in their system. A dog would not be allowed to run in Manchester one week and run the following week in Ireland because the dog would have to undertake a clearance trial. A dog, bar it was an open class dog, would be banned automatically.

Dogs are banned for other reasons. In England, some dogs do not chase the hare or certain hares so they are banned. We would have to include them in any ban in this jurisdiction as well. Dogs are banned on the basis of a failure to comply with other rules and regulations.