The IGB finally published their 2019 Annual Report and once again it makes for sobering reading.

2019 was the twelfth consecutive year of declining attendance. 462,709 was the total attendance for the year or 288 people per meeting.

The on-track tote has fallen to €14.7 million or an average of €9,153 per meeting. At this level of tote there must be a significant number of race meetings where the retention is not covering the cost of running the tote.

The IGB’s contribution to prizemoney was €7.48 million and total staff costs were €9.5 million.

There is 5 IGB employees receiving remuneration in excess of €100,000 including the CEO who receives €166,150. How many trainers, who work far more than 40 hours per week, earn €100,000 per year?

This all happened in the same week that saw the Melbourne Cup race night in Australia where prizemoney of €620,000 was up for grabs. The winner of the Melbourne Cup received €268,000 on the night which is just double what the winning most dog in Ireland received for the entire year.

The Irish Greyhound industry could be bigger than the Australian industry and could have higher prizemoney. A properly run greyhound industry would not just comply with welfare expectations on rehoming but would be capable of generating enough money that would make it possible for better care throughout the dog’s lifetime.

Despite the shameful annual report of IGB and obvious trends in the industry, we had misguided TD’s queuing up in The Dail earlier this week singing the praises of the IGB and voting to give them an increase in funding. Listening to TD’s quoting ridiculously inflated employment and economic impact numbers illustrates the depth of the problems that greyhound owners face.

Anyone trying to portray Holly Cairns TD as some sort of bogeyman that is going to close down the greyhound industry needs to give their head a shake and examine the facts. Ms Cairns has been a TD for 6 months, the greyhound industry has been in free fall for 12 years. The biggest threat to the Irish greyhound industry is The Irish Greyhound Board, not Holly Cairns. If Holly Cairns left the Dail tomorrow, the industry is still in trouble. Carey, McGrath, Cahill, Sherlock, Healey Rae etc etc have been TD’s for the entire collapse of the industry and what have they done to stop the decline. Their pathetic grandstanding last Tuesday is simply to impress their local constituents and should not be mistaken for genuine concern for the industry.

If the Irish greyhound industry is to survive it must get away from the dead weights that it has to accommodate when it accepts Government funding. Do you think that if the Government offered Ryanair €19 million and we sent them the cv’s of the 5 amigos that the IGB has on €100k+,  that Michael O’Leary would allow them to run Ryanair?  I think not.

The greyhound industry is competing with well organised sports such as golf, soccer, horse racing etc for the betting Euro. The cronyism and tolerance of non-performance that come with being a semi-state mean you will never compete with commercial entities. The IGB does not have the people with the imagination or the ability to survive in a commercial world. The industry finds itself in the unenviable position, does it collectively bury it’s head in the sand,  take the annual Government bailout and watch the industry progressively decline. Or does it stand up for itself and demand real changes?

 

The soft money from The Horse and Greyhound fund has made the IGB lazy and arrogant. Why work when you get paid to do nothing?

A simple example of presentation by our Government funded IGB and GRV who have to generate their own income.