The belated publication of the 2018 Annual Report is confirmation of further decline of the greyhound industry combined with contradicting spin from The IGB.

The Chairman’s address suggests that either he is out of touch with reality or that that he thinks the people reading the report are total fools.

Mr Nyhan writes

“2018 was a year of steady progress for the greyhound industry in Ireland. Turnover from racing related activities increased to €23.7 million from a figure of €22.7 million in 2017. Over half a million people attended greyhound racing meetings in 2018.”

The only thing “steady” about 2018 was the continued decline of the industry. Mr Nyhan appears to think that “over half a million people” attending in 2018 was an achievement worth highlighting. It was an achievement all right, attendance of 506,000 in 2018 marked the twelfth consecutive year of declining attendance. It is less than 50% of the number of people that attended ten years previously in 2008.

Mr Nyhan might reconcile the 21% drop in attendance in the last 2 years (636,000 people attended in 2016) with the IGB mission statement that states that the IGB will deliver a “A highly exciting and value led entertainment experience”

Mr Nyhan also appears to believe that the 4% increase in turnover from 2017 is another achievement worth pointing out. It needs to be remembered that Shelbourne Park was closed for 22 weeks in 2017 so it was always likely that turnover would be up in 2018 relative to 2017. However, the trend is still downward. Tote, the best barometer of the industry, continues to fall.

 

Mr Dollards Report (more spin than facts) opens with a claim that there was “positive growth” in the industry in 2018. I was scratching my head for this one until he explained the growth

“Notwithstanding these difficulties, I am pleased that the attendance figures for 2018 for Bord na gCon stadia showed an improvement on 2017”. Of course Mr Dollard conveniently fails to clarify the fact that the largest track in the country was closed for 22 weeks due to a dispute thus rendering any comparison futile.

Much of his report is copy and paste from previous, he tells us that we were privileged to enjoy a feast of racing, sounds like something Phil Meaney said. He blames the weather, Brexit etc for the problems of the industry. No doubt he will blame RTE for this years problems. Mr Dollard talks the talk but his performance has to be judged on the numbers he produces. To date the numbers suggest that he was a bad appointment.

IGB 2018 Accounts can be accessed here

IGB went to great lengths to avoid disclosing not only the contents of the PRL Report but also did not even tell The Dept of Agriculture of its existence. The IGB were compelled to submit the report to the PAC and the heavily redacted report is now available.

Preferred Results Report can be accessed here

In spite of the redaction it is clear to see why IGB tried to hide the report. PRL have looked closely at the management structure at Limerick track and are highly critical of the structure.

The PRL findings should give the “Friends of Limerick” plenty to talk about when they are invited to the captains table on Leger Final night. The management structure that PRL are so critical of would not have survived in Limerick without the blind support of the Friends of Limerick. If you have friends like this, you hardly need enemies.

The PRL report cost  €130,000 and goes in to a lot of detail regarding structure or the lack of it currently at IGB. One paragraph that sums up the problem of the industry is the failure by so many involved to realize that Greyhound Racing is a product

The generous handout of €320,000 from the tax payer every week affords the IGB the luxury of not having to treat the industry the same as any other business would. The Friends of Limerick and Cork might consider what will happen when the tax payer eventually says no more handouts.