The latest Christmas address of the IGB Chairman Phil Meeney is proof (if more was needed) that the Board have absolutely no clue of what they are at. Meeney’s attitude is typical of a generation of dinosaurs that view modern technology as a threat and cannot see the glorious opportunities that technology offers the greyhound industry.

Meeney’s address starts by stating “It’s time for a fresh start in 2018”  which all sounds very good but further on he clearly demonstrates the total lack of vision or ideas that he has for the industry when he reverts to flogging the dead horse.

“I cannot stress enough that growing attendances at all tracks has to be an absolute priority for every member of the greyhound community. The local greyhound supporter is our best link to a sports club looking for a fundraising opportunity or to a group of friends looking for a night out. “

Meaney tries to shift responsibility for falling attendance onto the “greyhound community” who should strong arm any contacts they have into attending tracks. Meaney obviously is aware that the product that IGB is offering is simply not of a standard that will attract consumers.

2018 is going to be another very difficult year. There is absolutely no indication of a slowdown in the slide of the industry since the appointment of Meaney as Chairman in April 2011. The Jim Power report of the industry published in March 2011 stated that in excess of 10,000 people worked in the industry then. Now almost 7 years since Meaney was appointed, he has had 5 CEO’s , over €100 million in tax payers funding has been squandered and we are left with less than 1,000 people working in the industry.

The IGB policy of turning a blind eye to the rampant use of illegal drugs has been very damaging to the public perception of the industry. The IGB are now paying for their years of lies, interference and incompetence. Two visits to the High Court in January to confront Messrs McKenna/Holland will set the ball rolling on what promises to be a very lucrative year for the IGB’s solicitors.

RTE Drivetime.One could only smile at the hypocrites from IGB that brought Barry Lenihan from RTE last week to show him the new €400,000 machine that they think is now going to clean up the entire industry. All of the IGB personnel were adamant that this machine was a watershed moment. It was disappointing that the CEO still felt it was a opportune time to criticise the one group that have campaigned tirelessly for this investment for many years. The whole world knew that the IGB did not have the capability to test for prohibited substances, Mr Dollard might seek an explanation from Mr Meaney as to why he resisted this investment for 6 years. Mr Dollard might then begin to understand why the greyhound group that he criticised can never be convinced of the commitment to integrity by the current IGB Chairman.

Another nugget to come from the interview of Ger Dollard by Barry Lenihan was that IGB have announced that they are to spend money developing Shelbourne Park but similar to the strategy that preceded the building of Limerick Stadium, they have not done a business appraisal. Burying money in concrete is always a good way to syphon money off to your buddies so we can expect another white elephant to be produced. These dinosaurs, in receipt of €300,000 of tax payers money every week, have the luxury of not needing to learn from their mistakes.

The IGB are slowly coming to the realisation that welfare is an issue. The IGB strategy on welfare is similar to what they tried when confronted with the drugs. Tell lies, issue misleading and incomplete press releases. The IGB have enjoyed the total protection of Government for 7 years which has resulted in an arrogant attitude to everyone that questions them. This short term political protection has fostered an unhealthy level of contempt at IGB and a belief that nobody can touch them. Eoin English’s factually incorrect article regarding track injuries may not have been too incisive but it is only a matter of time before someone more committed digs deeper.

 

The IGB finally published their 2016 accounts on December 22 2017. They mark 2016 as the 10 consecutive year of declining tote. Administration costs have increased while attendance has fallen further from 2015. Prize money contribution by IGB has increased although still a fraction of 10 years ago. Geraldine Larkin was paid €116,000 to leave CEO position 6 months early. IGB paid another €253,000 following another settlement with an employee. The accounts also state that IGB is involved in one other ongoing legal dispute but it does not give details.

  2016 2015
Total Attendance 636,914 637,535
IGB Contribution to Prizemoney 5,768,360 4,566,713
Admin Cost 1.63 million 1.29 million
Legal and Professional 712,976 1,443,000
Tote 19.475 million 19.586 million
     
   

 

Ministers Creed and Doyle continue to sit on their hands and ignore the collapse like their Fine Gael colleagues Coveney and Hayes did before them.