140 people turned out in Carrigaline today to hand a letter to Minister Coveney. Special thanks to the Gerry Kerley who travelled from Dundalk and to Des Cowen and Ken Mann who drove from Dublin. Minister Coveney’s office is in the centre of the town. “The Hounds” playing live music coupled with the colourful protestetors drew great attention for over an hour. Bill Murphy IGOBF Chairman read the letter of protest before depositing it in Coveney’s letterbox.

Bill Murphy, Chairman National Greyhound, Owners and Breeders Federation, watched by members from around the Country, delivering a letter to Minister Simon Coveney’s office, calling for the removal of the IGB board.
Picture: Mike English

Tom Murphy, Kerry, Gerry Kirley, Dundalk and Ruairi Dwan, Tipperary attending the GOBA protest march in Carrigaline, Co. Cork.
Picture: Mike English

Jim Scully, Mooncoin, Arlene and John Tynan, Tipperary and Stephen Bourke, Clonmel attending the National GOBA protest march to Minister Simon Coveney’s office in Carrigaline, Co. Cork.
Picture: Mike English

Kieran O’Brien, Cork, Des Cowan, Dublin, Ken Mann, Dublin and Fechin Mullen, Waterford at the GOBA protest march in Carrigaline, Co. Cork calling for the removal of the IGB board.
Picture: Mike English

Members of GOBA protesting at the National GOBA march to Minister Simon Coveney’s office in Carrigaline, Co. Cork.
Picture: Mike English

 

 

 

13 May 2017

 

Dear Minister Coveney,

The Irish greyhound industry has faced many crisis in the last 50 years. We had the recessions of the 1980’s and 2008 which we survived, we even survived the Foot and Mouth of 2001.

 

But we are here today because the greyhound industry is in crisis, the worst crisis it has ever faced. And this is a crisis that you Minister Coveney have inflicted upon us.

 

One of the first jobs you did when you were appointed Minister for Agriculture in 2011 was to appoint Phil Meaney as Chairman of the IGB.

You subsequently appointed or reappointed every single member of the present board of IGB. These appointments may have been good friends of yours but they are not up to the job.

 

Indecon was very critical of your appointments and explained that they were suffering a “skills gap”.

 

And we greyhound owners are now paying the price for your cronyism. A price of €31 million in prize money cuts and Harolds Cross up for sale. What track next?

 

The IGB under your Chairman Phil Meaney has produced some of the worst financial returns in the history of the state. The devastating fall in turnover, prize money, track attendance, sponsorship, ownership, breeding, bookmaker and tote income means that the greyhound industry is on its knees.

If the current Irish Greyhound Board are not replaced immediately then an industry which once generated a €207 million gross wage bill (Power 2010) will be destroyed. The reductions in prize money has been a major contributor to driving in excess of 60% of owners from the sport but the lack of integrity that is now endemic in the IGB cannot be overstated. The Boards two tier system of regulation means our reputation is in tatters and our product is virtually unsaleable.

 

This is a Board who have allowed attendance to fall from 1.2 millon people to 600 thousand.

 

Apart from appointing this “skills gap” board, what else have you done for the greyhound industry?

 

What did you do in 2013 when a Board member wrote to you and advised you of the skulduggery that was going on in the IGB Boardroom?

You did nothing? Not you or not one person in your Dept saw fit to investigate the allegations. The industry would not be in it’s current crisis if you had listened to the warnings of Brendan Moore.

 

What did you do when the board concocted a sponsor for the 2013 Derby? The whole country knew it was a scam but typically you turned a blind eye. What action did your Dept take when you became aware of the scam?

 

What did you do when the Internal Auditor investigating the Dundalk fixing scam accused your Chairman of interfering with the investigation? You turned a blind eye and then allowed the IGB to pay him off. The “investigation” into the Dundalk scam cost €400,000 but nobody was ever reprimanded, why?

 

When you were questioned about the IGB’s ability to test for stanozolol, you claimed the IGB could test for stanozolol. But now we know this was also a lie because Professor Morris confirmed that IGB did not have the ability to test for stanozolol. IGB now claim that they got a new machine in 2017 that can test for stanozolol but nobody actually believes them or you.

 

The IGB received legal advice in 2013 regarding the registration of illegal dogs. Why have you allowed the Board to ignore the legal advice given to them? What do you say to law abiding owners that were beaten by non-compliant dogs?

 

The Chairman of IGB stated at the PAC that he and 5 other Board members are beneficial owners of greyhounds. This is a clear breach of the Greyhound Act. This is old news to everyone here today so what are you going to do about it?

 

Indecon has made it very clear that Board members should only serve a maximum of 2 terms. Why did you reappoint Michaels Lowry’s nomination Billy O Dwyer for a third term?

 

Why did you allow the IGB to pay for a legal case against a Board member in 2015 even though the IGB had no legal obligation to get involved.

 

Adrian Neilan ran the industry into the ground from 2007 to 2013. Why did you refuse to listen to greyhound owners when you offered him a contract extension in Dec 2013?

 

You Minister Coveney are the person that shafted the Irish greyhound industry and we are here today to let you know that we will remember that when you come knocking on our doors again. And we want to issue a very clear warning to anyone that supports you in your bid to be Taoiseach, they will also be remembered.

 

Regards

Bill Murphy

Chairman IGOBF