Massive grants for coursing and greyhound racing venues

21 Mar
There are renewed calls for an end to the government’s funding of horse and greyhound racing after details emerged about a hare coursing venue receiving a €300,000 grant.
 
Clonmel Horse Racing Course (also known as Powerstown Park) – which shamefully hosts the annual hare coursing finals – has received the major cash injection from taxpayer-funded Horse Racing Ireland.
 
Details about the “Racecourse Capital Development Grant” were published on the website of Horse Racing Ireland – a body which has received €900 million of taxpayers’ money since 2001, including €64 million in 2017 and another €64 million for 2018.
 
In a statement, its CEO has said that HRI is “delighted to be announcing approval of these capital development grants and that “racegoers and those working in the industry will benefit from the enhanced facilities”.
 
The €300,000 grant for Clonmel Racecourse will go towards “a new weigh room building [which] will accommodate facilities for jockeys, valets, racing officials and stewards, as well as medical rooms”.
 
Quoted on the HRI website, Clonmel Racecourse Manager DJ Histon – who also happens to be the CEO of the Irish Coursing Club – welcomed the funding, saying the new building “will provide a significant upgrade on the current building for this important industry facility”.
 
Powerstown Park is home to the cruel hare coursing finals every year. Hares are released at one end of the venue and can be seen running for their lives ahead of pairs of greyhounds. Last year, RTE captured sickening footage of a hare being severely hit and mauled into the ground there – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUkFXFSYn7I. Observers at this year’s meeting also witnessed hares being hit by the dogs as a merciless mob in a grandstand cheered.
 
Also receiving substantial sums from Horse Racing Ireland were Bellewstown racecourse and Dundalk Stadium.
 
Dundalk Stadium which describes itself as “the world’s only dual purpose horse and greyhound track” is one of the worst tracks in Ireland for greyhound injuries. According to Irish Greyhound Board statistics obtained by Clare Daly TD, 44 greyhounds suffered injuries at the track last year, with 10 of these destroyed by a track vet.
 
Dundalk stadium is also a supporter of cruel hare coursing, having hosted “benefit nights” for a local coursing club.
 
The stadium is to receive a massive €252,000 grant from Horse Racing Ireland. This will be used to pay for “a new dedicated horse owners’ and trainers’ facility, and the upgrading of television sets around the racecourse, including within the main panoramic dining restaurant”.
 
Stadium CEO Jim Martin expressed his excitement at the funding – “We are excited to make strides to afford owners and trainers a dedicated facility to which they can enjoy fantastic views of the parade ring and top class hospitality at Dundalk…We are grateful to Horse Racing Ireland for their support and look forward to works commencing.”
 
How utterly obscene that in the midst of housing and health crises, with people languishing on trolleys and dying on the streets, our government sees fit to channel millions of euros of public money into providing enhanced facilities for jockeys and racegoers.
ACTION ALERT

Please join us in a renewed appeal to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to stop funding the horse and greyhound industries and redirect the money to the many worthy causes crying out for support. Email taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie, paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie, minister@per.gov.ie
 
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/
 
Please sign and share our petition
Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry
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